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Full text of "THE COMPLETE HITLER - Speeches and Proclamations - MAX DOMARUS"

Includes the complete text of Vomarus 1 on'|ijiaI German 
4- volume seu and the 4- volume English translation on CD 




The Complete 

HI ■ LbR 

A Digital Desktop Reference 

to His Speeches and Proclamations 



Max Domarus 



HITLER 

Speeches and Proclamations 
VOLUME I 



HITLER 

Speeches and Proclamations 
1932-1945 



Volume I 1932-1934 

Volume II 1935-1938 

Volume III 1939-1940 

Volume IV 1941-1945 



MAX DOMARUS 



HITLER 

Speeches and Proclamations 
1932-1945 



THE CHRONICLE 
OF A DICTATORSHIP 



VOLUME ONE 
The Years 1932 to 1934 




BOLCHAZY-CARDUCCI PUBLISHERS 



Translated from the German by 
Mary Fran Golbert 

Published by 

Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers 
1000 Brown Street, Unit 101 
Wauconda, IL., 60084 
United States of America 

Copyright ® 1990 by Wolfgang Domarus 

Originally published in German: 
Hitler. Reden und Proklamationen 1932-1945. 
Copyright ® 1962, 1963, 1973 by Max Domarus, 
1987 by Wolfgang Domarus 

English translation copyright © 1990 by Wolfgang Domarus 

Licensing by Domarus Verlag 

Postfach, D-8700 Wurzburg 21, West Germany 

All rights reserved 

The copyright includes the entirety of Adolf Hitler's words 

as translated and cited in this work. 

Except for brief quotations in a review, this book, 

or any part thereof, must not be reproduced in any form 

without written permission from the publisher. 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 

Domarus, Max: Hitler. Speeches and Proclamations 1932-1945. 
Volume I: The Years 1932 to 1934. 

I. Germany. Politics and government. 1933-1945. Sources. 

I. Domarus, Max. II. Title. 

ISBN 0-86516-2271 (Volume 1: 1932-1934) 

ISBN 0-86516-2298 (Volume 11: 1935-1938) 

ISBN 0-86516-2301 (Volume III: 1939-1940) 

ISBN 0-86516-231X (Volume IV: 1941-1945) 

ISBN 0-865 16-228X (Four Volume Set) 
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 89-43172 

Produced by Verlagsservice Henninger GmbH, 
Wurzburg, West Germany 

Printed and bound in West Germany by 

Mainpresse Richter Druck und Verlags-GmbH & Co KG, 

Wurzburg 



VOLUME ONE 



Contents 



List of Photographs 7 

Abbreviations 8 

Preface 9 



INTRODUCTION 

Hitler's Personality 

Manner and Mental State 13 

From 'Artist' to 'God-Man' 24 
Political Aims 

'Patriotism' 33 

Anti-Semitism 37 

Domestic Policy 42 

Foreign Policy 50 

The Methodology of Hitler's Oratory 60 

Remarks on the Structure of this Work 72 



THE YEAR 1932-THE BID FOR POWER 

Major Events in Summary 75 
Report and Commentary 

1 The Speech before the Industry Club 78 

2 Candidacy for the Office of Reich President 115 

3 Landtag Election Campaigns 128 

4 Reichstag Elections of July 31 138 

5 Reichstag Elections of November 6 162 

6 The Final Steps toward Taking Power 175 



Introduction 

THE YEAR 1933-THE NATIONAL REVOLUTION 

Major Events in Summary 205 

Report and Commentary 

1 Hitler's Appointment as Reich Chancellor — Statement of Policy 210 

2 The Consolidation of Power — Emergency Decrees 230 

3 The Enabling Act — Debate between Hitler and Wels 261 

4 The Beginning of the Gleichschaltung, of the Boycott 

against Jews and of the NS Foreign Policy 297 

5 Elections in Danzig — The Concordat — 
First Reich Party Congress in Nuremberg — 

Withdrawal from the League of Nations 335 

6 Commemoration March to the Feldherrnhalle — 

Beginning of Rearmament 376 



THE YEAR 1934-THE DESPOT UNMASKED 

Major Events in Summary 407 
Report and Commentary 

1 Ten- Year Pact between Germany and Poland 411 

2 The 'Reconstruction' of the Reich 431 

3 The Rohm Purge 447 

4 Hitler's Justification of the Slaughter of June 30 483 

5 National Socialist Putsch Attempt in Austria — Hindenburg's Death — 
Oath of Allegiance to the 'Fiihrer and Reichskanzler' 504 

6 Plebiscite on Uniting the Offices of Chancellor and President 520 
Notes 551 



List of Photographs 



I Correspondence with Hindenburg and Meissner. Hitler 
dictating a reply to the press chief of the NSDAP (November 
1932) 

II General Kurt von Schleicher, at his desk in 1932 

III Gregor Strasser, NSDAP Reichsorganisationsleiter, in 1932 

IV January 22, 1933. Hitler speaking at the memorial ceremony for 
Horst Wessel 

V February 1, 1933. Hitler making his first radio speech from the 
Chancellory office 

VI Hitler delivering his first address before the Reichstag on March 
23, 1933 

VII Hitler conferring with Rohm and other SA leaders on January 
22, 1934 in the Reich Chancellory 

VIII Speech to Autobahn workers on March 21, 1934 in 
Unterhaching 

IX On the eve of the Rohm Purge. Hitler on June 29, 1934 at the 
Buddenberg castle 

X Hitler's convoy leaving Bad Wiessee after the arrest of the SA 
leaders on June 30, 1934 

XI The day after the Purge. Hitler salutes the Reichswehr parading 
in his honor on July 1, 1934 

XII SS guards posted in the Reichstag. In his speech on July 13, 1934, 
Hitler feared assassination attempts on the part of incensed party 
comrades 

XIII Hitler and Mussolini in Venice on June 14, 1934 

XIV Hindenburg and Hitler in Neudeck on July 3, 1934 after the 
conference on the Rohm Purge 

XV Perceptible dissatisfaction upon learning the outcome of the 
plebiscite of August 19, 1934 



Abbreviations 



BA = Bundesarchiv, Koblenz 

BDM = Bund Deutscher Madel 

BVP = Bayerische Volkspartei (Bavarian People's Party) 

DAF = Deutsche Arbeitsfront (German Labor Front) 

DNB = Deutsches Nachrichtenbiiro (German News Bureau) 

DNVP = Deutschnationale Volkspartei (German National People's Party) 

DVP = Deutsche Volkspartei (German People's Party) 

FHQu = Fiihrerhauptquartier (Fiihrer Headquarters) 

Gestapo = Geheime Staatspolizei (Secret State Police) 

HJ = Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth) 

HQu = Hauptquartier (Headquarters) 

HStA = Hauptstaatsarchiv, Munich 

IMT = International Military Tribunal, 1945-1949 

KdF = Kraft durch Freude ("Strength through joy") 

KPD = Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (Communist Party of 

Germany) 

NS = Nationalsozialistisch (National Socialist) 

NSBO = Nationalsozialistische Betriebszellenorganisation (National 

Socialist Factory Cell Organization) 

NSDAP = Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist 

German Workers' Party) 

NSFK = Nationalsozialistisches Fliegerkorps (National Socialist Air Corps) 

NSK = Nationalsozialistische Parteikorrespondenz (National Socialist 

Party News Agency) 

NSKK = Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrkorps (National Socialist 

Motorized Corps) 

OSAF = Oberster SA Fiihrer (Supreme Commander of the SA) 

Pg = Parteigenosse (Party comrade) 

PL = Politischer Leiter (Political Leader) 

PO = Politische Organisation (Political Organization) 

RAD = Reichsarbeitsdienst (Reich Labor Service) 

RGB1 = Reichsgesetzblatt (Reich Law Gazette) 

RSHA = Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Central Office for Reich Security) 

RK = Reichskanzlei (Reich Chancellory) 

SA = Sturmabteilung (Nazi storm troops; brown shirts) 

SD = Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service, the SS intelligence agency) 

SPD = Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (Social Democratic Party 

of Germany) 

SS = Schutzstaffel (Nazi elite guard; black shirts) 

StA = Staatsarchiv 

TU = Telegraphenunion (Telegraph Union) 

VB = Volkischer Beobachter (Nationalist Observer) 

WTB = Wolffs Telegraphisches Biiro (Wolffs Telegraph Bureau) 



PREFACE 



This publication of the speeches and proclamations of Adolf Hitler 
is the final product of records I compiled during the years 1932 to 1945 
and supplemented by sources and publications made available after 
World War II. 

Such in-depth study of materials documenting the very recent past— 
and at such an early date— may first appear unusual for a historian who 
had, until then, specialized in the nineteenth century. There are, 
however, certain parallels between the two fields. My own avid interest 
in English history led me to concentrate my scholarly research on 
Napoleon I and Wihelm II. When, in 1932, Adolf Hitler became the 
most important political figure in Germany, I became interested in his 
public words for, in terms of foreign policy, they reminded me of these 
two historical predecessors. There could be no doubt that this man — once 
in power — would perforce come into marked conflict with the western 
world, above all with Great Britain. Hence I began to collect all of 
Hitler's speeches, interviews, proclamations, letters, and other statements 
available, convinced that they would one day be of documentary value, 
should this demagogue be allowed to pursue his course. 

During my university studies and as a journalist, I had the 
opportunity to travel widely in Germany from 1932 to 1939 and to gain 
a close view of many significant aspects of the Third Reich. I personally 
heard Hitler speak and was able to interview public figures who had 
direct contact with him. In this way I was able to witness for myself 
Hitler's astonishing power and influence as an orator. The enthusiasm 
his speeches prompted was not confined only to easily-aroused mass 
audiences but also infected— perhaps even more strongly— individuals 
belonging to Germany's leading circles. 

At that time I was aware that Hitler's arguments were most persuasive 
with the German people and with people in neighboring countries 



Preface 

or those who had some link to the German mentality and culture. 
Members of the Anglo-Saxon nations were unimpressed by Hitler's 
oratory, just as were the Soviets and Japanese, although they did make 
certain concessions to Hitler for diplomatic and tactical reasons. My own 
observations of the events and the comparisons I drew with historic 
parallels soon taught me how to accurately and soberly assess both the 
real and alleged accomplishments of the Third Reich and to anticipate 
the reactions they would elicit abroad. 

I became a particularly attentive and critical listener, studying the 
various phases and methodology of his oratory and making my own 
notes of key phrases either during his speeches or shortly thereafter. 
Thus I was able to immediately spot changes and deletions in texts of the 
speeches subsequently published. 

As a soldier from 1939 to 1945, I no longer had the opportunity to 
personally attend speeches and visit mass rallies. However, this was less of 
a handicap than might have been expected, for Hitler's public appearances 
became increasingly infrequent during World War II, and the few speeches 
he did deliver were broadcast on the radio. When I had leave, I updated my 
collection and supplemented it with such military orders, proclamations 
and directives as were available to me. After 1945, I was able to further 
complement the documents I had compiled with archive material. 

Friends and fellow historians at home and abroad urged me to 
publish the collection in the form of a day-to-day chronicle, 
accompanied by a detailed commentary providing the historical 
background. This would then serve to make the most anomalous and 
terrifying phenomenon of our century more accessible and 
comprehensible and — by revealing the sharp contrast between the 
Fuhrer myth and reality— act as a corrective to an incomplete or false 
interpretation of the Nazi regime. 

Much research on the history of the Third Reich has perhaps viewed 
its subject in too complicated a fashion. The initiator and driving force 
behind the fatal events was Adolf Hitler. While he did not necessarily 
reveal his innermost thoughts, he never made any significant distinction 
between what he poured forth before mass audiences and what he said 
in more intimate circles. He readily disclosed most of his views to the 
public eye, albeit not always at the same time he took action. The 
advantage in studying his public statements lies in their authenticity, for 
memoirs and even personal records are inherently prone to error. 

The present study is confined to the years 1932 to 1945 — but not only 
for reasons of length. Inarguably, many of Hitler's speeches in the years 

10 



Preface 

preceding 1932 also present interesting and valuable sources of 
information, but his activities as a minor party leader and failed putschist 
are of lesser importance for German and European history. He did not 
become a major factor until he began gaining influence and exercising 
power, first as leader of the largest party in Germany, then as head of 
government, head of state, and supreme commander of the German armed 
forces. This decisive epoch commenced with Hitler's dramatic struggle for 
control of the government in 1932 and ended with the total collapse of his 
foreign and military policies in 1945. 

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude 
to all those who, by their inspiration and their assistance, have 
promoted the publication of this work. First of all, I would like to thank 
Professors Hugh Trevor-Roper (Baron Dacre of Glanton), Oxford; Alan 
Bullock, Oxford; Fridolin Solleder, Erlangen-Nuremberg; and Hugo 
Hantsch, Vienna for their encouragement and support. I would further 
like to thank the following for their expert assistance: Professor Heinz 
Lieberich, Munich, Director-General of the Bavarian State Archives; 
Hofrat Gebhard Rath, Vienna, Director-General of the Austrian State 
Archives; and Dr. Fritz de Quervain, Bern, head of the Swiss Military 
Library. 

I am especially indebted to the Institut fur Zeitgeschichte, Munich, 
particularly to Secretary-General Helmut Krausnick, Professor Thilo 
Vogelsang and Dr. Anton Hoch; the Bundesarchiv, Koblenz, 
particularly to Director Karl G. Bruchmann and former Colonel GS. 
D.H. Teske (Bundesarchiv, Militararchiv, Freiburg im Breisgau); the 
Staatsarchiv, Nuremberg, the Staatsarchiv, Munich and the Monacensia- 
Division of the Munich City Library; the Stadtarchiv, Wurzburg; the 
Wiirzburg University Library; the Stuttgart Military Library; and the 
Militargeschichtliches Forschungsamt, Freiburg im Breisgau. 

A debt of gratitude is owed to my assistant, Dr. Gerhard G. Drexler, 
Wurzburg, who not only spent years with me working through the 
voluminous material and reading the proofs, but who also, as a member 
of the young generation, contributed his valuable assistance in keeping 
the commentary succinct and to the point. My particular thanks are due 
to my wife, Gertrud, for her interest and patience throughout. 



11 



Preface 



Notes on the English Edition, Volume I 



In 1987, the fourth edition of the hardcover set was published in the 
Federal Republic of Germany. 

The broad international attention and unanimous acclaim the study 
has received as one of the standard reference works on the history of the 
Third Reich has necessitated that an English edition be made available, 
particularly since the majority of the original sources contained 
therein— speeches, proclamations, public statements, etc.— have not 
been accessible to date in English. The occasion of the translation was 
used to do minor revision and updating work on the commentary. 

By virtue of this edition, a wider range of historians and all those 
interested in the phenomenon of the Third Reich are now afforded an 
opportunity to follow and study the events of the years 1932 to 1945 in 
Germany on the basis of previously unavailable documentation and to 
thereby gain a new perspective on this much-researched field. 

Above all I thank my son, Wolfgang, and his partners, the publishers 
in Great Britain and the United States, as well as all those involved in 
accomplishing this project. I am particularly indebted to the translator, 
Mary Fran Gilbert, for the courage she has demonstrated in taking on 
such a demanding task and for her professional and objective approach 
to the material. Special thanks are also due to the technical editor, 
Gabriele Kamprad, for her careful and painstaking collation of the 
translation with the original. Finally I express my thanks to Hanne 
Henninger, Christiane Wachtel, Uwe Laubender, Andrew Bird, and 
Susannah Kennedy for their contribution to the project. 

I am happy to see the English edition materialize and pleased to have 
been able to lend my support to its genesis and evolution. 

Wtirzburg, November 1989 Max Domarus 



12 



INTRODUCTION 



Hitler's Personality 



Manner and Mental State 

Prominent figures on the rise to power or in the act of seeking 
aggrandizement have frequently employed the spoken word to attain 
their ends. They have chosen this vehicle because it not only facilitated 
their ascent, but also satisfied their passion for public speaking. They 
were intoxicated by both the applause of their audiences and by the 
demonstration of their power of suggestion and the potential influence 
they could exert. The history of mankind contains various examples of 
this phenomenon. 

In retrospect, Napoleon I and William II are particularly illustrative 
cases in point for their respective eras at the turn of the nineteenth and 
twentieth centuries. The speeches and proclamations of the Emperor of 
France, for example, which were first published at a relatively late date, 1 
undoubtedly convey the most forceful impression of his personality. 
The German Kaiser's public addresses appeared in published form prior 
to World War I 2 but were eclipsed when war broke out. They had, 
however, been instrumental in nurturing a false impression of the 
international distribution of power in the minds of the German people. 

Adolf Hitler's speeches and proclamations played a considerably 
more formative role in the rise and fall of the so-called Third Reich. 3 
The greater part of his theories and plans were expounded in public, and 
these statements rarely deviated — if at all, only in a chronological sense — 
from those he made to the few persons with whom he was intimate. 

Politicians and statesmen can be granted the privilege of discussing 
certain topics comprehensively in a private sphere without instantly 
weighing each phrase as an expression of persona— and public- 
conviction. Thus the remarks of such personages made within a limited 
circle cannot be considered unequivocal evidence of their actual 
intentions. 

13 



Introduction 

While records of Hitler's private conversations 4 are no doubt 
interesting and revealing, the fact that these reports are second-hand 
means that they are inevitably flawed by the absence of the verbatim 
wording and tainted by the possibilities of error and misinterpretation — 
a product of the unavoidable subjectivity inherent in such studies. 
Conversely, Adolf Hitler's public speeches 5 and proclamations ring 
true; they are his own words, and there is no doubt as to their 
documentary authenticity. Regardless of the circumstances and political 
necessities which led to their genesis, Hitler judged it fitting to make 
them available to the public in the form and at the time cited. It is the 
commentator's duty to place them in a historical perspective. 

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in Braunau am Inn (Upper 
Austria), the son of the minor customs official Alois Hitler and his wife 
Klara, nee Polzl. Following the collapse of the German Empire in 
November 1918, he resolved to become a "politician," 6 and on January 
30, 1933, he became Chancellor of Germany. Even prior to this date, 
thirteen million eligible voters had cast their ballots for him in the hope 
that he would bring about a better political and economic future. 

This insignificant member of the petty bourgeois class, a mere 
corporal in World War I, rose to become the sole head of government, 
German head of State, and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. 
He deprived his domestic political opponents of power across the board, 
filling key public offices with his loyal party-liners. In an open breach of 
the Treaty of Versailles, he called a new national conscription army into 
existence, then shifted his attention beyond Germany's borders. 
Without firing a single shot, he annexed Austria and the Sudeten 
German territories as part of the National Socialist Reich, 7 exploiting 
the peoples' right of self-determination to his own ends and finally 
procuring the stamp of international approval for his actions. 

When Hitler used force to invade and annex Poland, the Western 
Powers put their foot down and declared war. The German dictator had 
neglected to provide for this contingency, and it ultimately was to seal 
his fate. With the powerful German Army, he was still able to conquer 
a number of weaker countries and invade the Soviet Union, and the 
swastika flag he had designed flew intermittently from North Africa to 
the North Pole and from the Atlantic to the Caucasus while he was in 
power. However, nothing could avert the ultimate consequence which 
had been mapped out from the very onset. Hitler had started a war he 
could not finish; he and his politics suffered a total collapse. When the 

14 



Hitler's Personality 

sum of his prophecies and foreign policies had been proven false, he 
chose to shoot himself on April 30, 1945 in the Reich Chancellory 
bunker, leaving behind devastation in Germany and Europe 
unparalleled in the history of mankind. After his death, high-ranking 
staff branded him a murderer on millions of counts. 8 

In both his private and public life, Hitler cultivated the image of a 
hero and superhuman being: bursting with energy, of great foresight, 
never erring, ever courageous, intrepid and endowed with a profound 
sense of purpose. Was this his real personality? 

Before Hitler launched his career as a political agitator, he exhibited 
little evidence of being extraordinary. As a boy, he had been interested 
solely in doing and learning what he liked, early enjoying the role of 
"ringleader," 9 although this certainly was not a consequence of any 
striking individuality on Hitler's part. 

Even in the course of the years he spent in Vienna 10 and Munich 11 as 
a young man, he did not exhibit behavior which would have made him 
stand out among his peers, but was introverted and moody. He retained 
his childhood aversion to systematic application and regular work. 
Consequently, he was incapable of assuming a normal profession and, 
given the frequently disagreeable daily demands of a household, even 
less inclined or able to establish a homestead or marry. Only dire 
necessity drove him to enter service as a bricklayer's laborer and a 
painter and to market his handdrawn postcards. 

He preferred dreaming of "great" times, i.e. times marked by the 
upheavals of war and revolution, and found it depressing that the 
Germany and Europe of the early 20th century seemingly no longer 
afforded any room for events of extraordinary import. His public 
addresses before German youth as Fiihrer and Reich Chancellor 
repeatedly revolved around the memory of his own pathetic and 
miserable youth, when he had never been allowed to experience 
anything "great." Conversely, he stressed how lucky modern youths 
could consider themselves, having been endowed with his generous gift 
of "great" times. 

In Vienna, the young Hitler avidly followed the chauvinistic 
speeches and Utopian programs of the Alldeutschen 11 and the anti-semitic 
agitation of crank eccentrics 13 albeit without taking any active part in 
their doings. It was only within his own circle of acquaintances that he 
was fond of voicing loud support for nationalistic theories. All things 
considered, however, he in no way stood out from his fellow workers 

15 



Introduction 

or the other lodgers at the hostel for the homeless where he roomed. At 
that time, he was only one of many political ruminators ranging from 
the cafe intellectuals to the volkisch apostles who preached the coming 
of a Greater German Reich and blamed the Jews for every misfortune 
ever suffered by the German people. 

Hitler had nothing but disdain for the "volkisch St. Johns," 14 
condemning them as weaklings able to defend themselves only with 
"spiritual weapons." Hitler was, of course, anything but a heroic 
personality himself; all those who came into contact with him prior to 
World War I unanimously described him as a reserved man who seemed 
more insecure and awkward than self-confident or in any way superior. 
Handwriting samples have served to further document that he was 
essentially a pessimist and a doubter, prone to vacillation. His lifelong 
pathophobia and his later fear of potential assassins were also characteristic. 
Similarly, the manner in which he postponed his military service in 
Austria, opting instead to leave for Munich, 15 is not necessarily indicative 
of a pronounced martial nature. Moreover, this decision was also 
influenced by his contempt for the declining "Danubian Monarchy." 

The fact that Hitler proved a good soldier 16 and demonstrated a 
certain amount of courage in World War I does not qualify as evidence 
to the contrary, but illustrates that he had the willpower, when he 
applied himself, to accomplish feats above and beyond the scope of his 
natural disposition. 

When he judged a task worthwhile or sensed imminent danger, 
Hitler undeniably commanded extraordinary energy reserves and was 
powered by a veritably supernatural force. Like a second self, this force 
stood behind him, later propelling him from speech to speech, from 
plan to plan, and from victory to victory; ultimately, it plunged him 
into ruin. 

It remains an open question whether this "force" originated in his 
subconscious or can be interpreted in psychopathological terms; Hitler 
himself believed in a mission from a supernatural sphere. 17 

Hitler's own staff and followers as well as his political opponents at 
home recoiled in the face of his sinister, compelling energy — the almost 
demonic force he exuded. Even the few assassins who rose against him 
did not dare to challenge him openly, hiding instead behind the 
anonymity of a bomb. 

When he was in a good mood and among people he liked, Hitler 
could be charming, witty and gracious. But whenever the demon 
"willpower" arose in him, he struck his pose and took on the role he felt 

16 



Hitler's Personality 

called upon to play before history and the German nation— or merely 
before the altar of his own dogmas. The sentimental muser then 
metamorphosed into a cruel despot, more ruthless than a person with a 
basically brutal disposition could ever have been. 

At times like these, Hitler cast off his irresolution and worked 
himself up to personify 'inalterable determination' {unabanderliche 
Entschlossenheit). In a similar fashion, Hitler, the chronic pessimist and 
doubter, could embody— and project— unbounded optimism. 

Even in his last days, he was capable of instilling a sense of 
confidence in many German listeners — albeit a confidence totally 
lacking any foundation in reality and amounting to nothing but a 
figment of his imagination. He acted his part somewhat 
overdramatically, but nonetheless with such vehemence that he 
convinced not only those around him but himself as well that his 
emotional outbursts were genuine. Yet in such moments, the slightest 
interruption— the appearance of a stranger, an unexpected remark- 
would suffice to disconcert him. Then, instead of countering with a 
magnanimous gesture or a quick-witted retort, he would be betrayed by 
the uncertainty in his expression, and his only reply would more often 
than not be an embarrassed stock phrase. 

As a rule, he needed to rehearse important speeches and his public 
performances on the political stage. Thus prepared, he was able to 
appear convincing, whether he was inspecting a guard of honor at the 
front, shaking a king's hand, or acting the part of children's favorite and 
ladies' man. 

Hitler was plainly not "normal" within the bourgeois sense of the 
term. Even as a child he had lacked the ability to apply himself with any 
consistency; later, he found it difficult to hold a steady job and lead a 
well-ordered life. For the most part, his attitudes and habits were in 
open or disguised conflict with those of his environment. Eminent 
physicians who came into contact with him termed his character as 
being that of a psychopath, 18 confirming in their findings the reports of 
those who witnessed his fits of temper and abnormal behavior. 19 

It is nonetheless difficult to pass conclusive judgment, for Hitler 
consciously acted the part of a madman on selected occasions and could 
quite convincingly feign outbursts of rage. This conduct was designed to 
lend his speeches added emphasis or impress and intimidate his visitors. 
As soon as they had taken their leave, he, who had only shortly before 
foamed at the mouth in frenzy, 20 was then instantly able to ap- 

17 



Introduction 

pear calm and normal. Now and then he even expressed amusement 
over the scene he had just succeeded in bringing off. 21 Hitler viewed 
himself as exempt from commonly accepted standards, believing himself 
to be one of the heroes of world history, the likes of whom were 
"bestowed" upon mankind only rarely in the course of millenniums, 
and he frequently intimated in his speeches that he was a "genius." 22 
Among those "individuals of stature in world history" whose roads to 
greatness need not be obstructed by moral considerations were Hegel, 
Alexander the Great, Caesar, and Napoleon. Hitler was actually able to 
match and even surpass these men in his hunger for power, his cruelty, 
in his unquenchable thirst for conquest, and his almost pathological 
underestimation of facts and eventualities. 

Considered from this vantage point, one can doubtless label Hitler a 
lunatic. But this does not perforce mean that he was mentally ill to such 
an extent that he was incapable of thinking and acting clearly and 
consistently. 

The mental condition of these "individuals of stature" throughout 
world history who, in the course of their doings, generally caused undue 
suffering to their contemporaries, is described perhaps most accurately 
by the English historian Arthur Weigall. In his work Alexander the 
Great, he takes the following stance on the question of Alexander's 
soundness of mind: 23 

The question of his sanity has often been discussed by scholars; but I take 
the view that while many of his actions, such as his march across the Gedrosian 
desert, were so insensate that he may well be described colloquially as a 
"lunatic," he was not actually mad, nor can the apposite references to him as the 
"Macedonian Madman" be taken literally. In any assembly of men — in a 
regiment of soldiers, for example — there is usually some dare-devil whom we 
loosely describe as a lunatic; in any army in wartime there is some general who 
uses up his men in a way which is criticized as insane; in any realm of adventure 
there is some foolhardy hero, who, we say, is crazy; in any gathering of 
statesmen there is some rash visionary whose ideas are too grand to be thought 
sane; in any group of intellectuals there is some eccentric genius who may be 
described with no unfriendly intent as being "as mad as a hatter"; in any religious 
body there is some fanatic who, without real reproach, may so be termed; in 
every age and every society there is some abnormal man with a mission who, 
often because his views are so disconcerting to the complacently sane, is named 
either in vexation or in admiration a lunatic. In all these senses Alexander was a 
lunatic; and, indeed, the fact seems to have been recognized, for towards the end 
of his life he was identified with the god Dionysos, who was definitely the divine 
lunatic made mad by his father Zeus. 

This characterization could readily be applied to Adolf Hitler. 
18 



Hitler's Personality 

Some of his contemporaries uphold the opinion that Hitler, 
enfeebled by various illnesses, underwent a steady mental deterioration 
in his later years. 24 

In a physical sense, there is indeed evidence of a certain decay 
(stomach pains, insomnia, tremors, etc.), although his external posture 
revealed only slight changes toward the end of the war: his shoulders 
caved in somewhat; his tendency to stoop grew more pronounced; his 
hair turned grey. However, these physical disorders and signs of aging 
in no way infringed upon his mental powers. Newsreel shots through 
March 1945 showed him in the then-familiar poses: smiling and greeting 
the public, giving Hitler Youth boys a paternal pat on the back, etc. 

In the end, Hitler's appeals, telegrams and other official statements 
breathed the same spirit which had pervaded them from the very 
beginning: he had retreated not an inch. Adolf Hitler was no more 
insane in April 1945 than he had been in the year 1919. 

Were one to attempt to discern symptoms of mental illness in his 
public statements, one might well cite Hitler's gigantomania and 
arithmomania, obsessions far exceeding the normal scope of like quirks. 
In nearly every major speech, Hitler produced random arrays of the 
oddest figures. Tens of thousands of party comrades, for instance, were 
cited; hundreds of thousands of Volksgenossen or prisoners, millions of 
peasants and workers, millions of tons of foodstuffs, sunken holds, or 
bombs dropped; billions of letters dispatched, etc. ad infinitum. 

Although fond of revelling in figures of such magnitude, he also 
regarded smaller numbers as sufficiently impressive to warrant endless 
repetition, e.g. the "seven men" who founded a movement, "thirteen 
years of struggle and thirteen million followers," "twenty-one replies to 
Roosevelt" (designed to surpass Wilson's Fourteen Points, at least 
numerically), etc. 

Only in a marginal sense did this idee fixe originate from a 
knowledge of real numerology or the causal relationships between 
specific dates, Fate, numbers and so-called coincidences. 25 

The demagogue Hitler doted on figures, adding to and subtracting 
from columns and sums for their own sake alone. One had the 
impression that Hitler positively intoxicated himself with the sheer 
sound of the figures, using them as a stimulant and attempting to 
hypnotize his listeners into a state of rapture with his litanies. But more 
often than not, Hitler's juggling with figures was thoroughly pointless, 
for the numbers alone proved nothing; moreover, the real figures added 
up much differently. 

19 



Introduction 

Closely linked to the question of Hitler's mental state is the problem 
of his soundness of mind. Taken in a certain sense, no criminal is normal, 
for his thoughts, reactions and deeds do not conform with those norms 
fixed by law and convention. Systematically disposing of all internal 
restraints recognized and respected by what are regarded as normal 
members of human society, Hitler silenced the voice of his conscience, 
albeit gradually and with perceptible initial hesitation. Ultimately, 
however, it is always the initial act in a criminal career which requires the 
most effort, while ensuing steps become progressively easier. 

Hitler cold-bloodedly murdered his own comrades and followers on 
June 30, 1934 merely because, in his view, they obstructed his path to 
power; thus it comes as no surprise that he was unable or unwilling to 
use more moderate methods in dealing with his real opponents or those 
he regarded as such. He believed himself to be the sole judge of right and 
wrong. 

The principle, "Whatever benefits the German Volk [i.e. Hitler] is 
right," which was openly propagated during the Third Reich, set the 
stage for the free reign of criminal instincts. In times of war, moreover, 
this way of thinking necessarily brought with it particularly harrowing 
consequences. How could one expect that Hitler, markedly reluctant as 
he was to comply with laws in times of peace and unscrupulous about 
violating them when circumstances were opportune, would be willing 
to abide by legal norms in wartime? It is a sorry fact that the most 
gruesome consequences of Hitler's self-styled concept of what was right 
became evident in the course of World War II. 

Until then, he had oppressed and persecuted only his political 
opponents in Germany; now, in order to save his "racially valuable" 
soldiers from dying in vain, he felt justified in literally exterminating 
(ausrotten) entire "enemy" peoples and races— his openly declared 
intention. 

However, the War represented merely the final phase of a course set 
as early as 1933-34. Even at this initial stage, Hitler had viewed himself 
as exempt from all legally established rules, regardless of whether they 
were designed to preserve the Constitution or curb criminal behavior. 
Numerous laws promulgated by Hitler's cabinet in 1933 far exceeded the 
scope of the Enabling Act and were clear infringements of the 
Constitution, e.g. the Governor Law and the Party Law. Even an alleged 
national emergency would not have constituted sufficient grounds for 
the slayings carried out on June 30, 1934 at Hitler's orders, let alone 
justified their commission. This crime was nevertheless declared, in a 

20 



Hitler's Personality 

post facto national law; to have been "legal." 26 It is worthy of note that 
there is no official record, even from this early era, that Hitler was ever 
called upon to account for such actions or even reprimanded in anyway. 

One cannot dismiss this fact by reasoning that Germany was 
governed at the time by a dictatorship tolerating no resistance. There 
were still quite enough opportunities to register protest or to resign, 
both within and outside of the cabinet, without risking life and limb. 27 
The truth of the matter is that Hitler had already convinced Germany's 
prominent figures that everything he did was within his given rights, 
even if his actions conflicted with the laws in force. 

This conviction was held not only by his party comrades, whom he 
had early inoculated with these dogmas, but also by non-National 
Socialist cabinet and Reichstag members and even Reich President von 
Hindenburg. With his outstanding powers of rhetoric, Hitler had 
succeeded in mesmerizing even high-ranking, well-educated Germans of 
flawless personal integrity to such an extent that they gave him carte 
blanche — and did so in a country which takes great stock in the letter of 
the law. 

It has been said that Hitler had a "sixth sense," that he could, for 
instance, actually sense when danger was looming and adjust his 
behavior so as to extricate himself at the last minute. Needless to say, 
this concept of Hitler as "supernaturally" endowed cannot stand up to 
scrutiny. The circumstances surrounding the events in which he 
allegedly escaped imminent danger by some mysterious means were in 
fact by no measure extraordinary. His behavior on these occasions was 
normal, and he made no changes in his itinerary — something he 
certainly would have done had he anticipated any real threat. 

No one can seriously claim that Hitler's "supernatural" powers were 
so keen that, for instance, the mere fact of his presence was sufficient to 
deactivate a hidden bomb. 28 In the light of reason, there remain only 
three such incidents which appear to be accompanied by unusual 
attendant circumstances: 

1. Hitler's flight over the Baltic on November 6, 1933, in which the 
plane lost its bearings. Allegedly, Hitler suddenly ordered the pilot to 
change course by 180 degrees against the pilot's will, thus rescuing the 
aircraft from certain destruction. 

2. Hitler's conduct at his speech on November 8, 1939 in Munich. 
He left the Biirgerbraukeller earlier than scheduled; half an hour later, a 
bomb exploded there. 

21 



Introduction 

3. Hitler's deliverance from the assassination attempt of July 20, 1944 
in the Fiihrer Headquarters Wolfsschanze (Wolf's Lair) in East Prussia. 

The real circumstances surrounding these incidents are as follows: 

Case 1: The legend of Hitler's aeronautic adventure on November 6, 
1933 29 was based upon a report by the English journalist Ward Price, 30 
who was not personally present at the incident but gathered his 
information from reports of those close to Hitler. The aircraft's pilot, 
Hans Baur, 31 tells a completely different — and by no means mysterious — 
story. 

The plane lost its orientation as a result of limited visibility and 
malfunctioning radio direction finding. Due to the length of time 
already spent in the air, Hitler feared that the plane might have passed 
Schleswig-Holstein and already be flying over the North Sea. Baur 
decided to set his course south in search of land; when he sighted a city 
on the coast, he made a futile attempt to decipher its name on the 
railway station sign. Hitler, however, recognized a meeting hall where 
he had once spoken and was thus able to identify the place as Wismar. 
That was the sum of his contribution toward "rescuing" the plane. 

Case 2: It is an undisputed fact that Hitler vacated the 
Biirgerbraukeller in Munich half an hour earlier than planned on 
November 8, 1939. But his actions on that date indicate that the 
detonation of the bomb could easily have been nothing other than a 
bogus assassination attempt staged with Hitler's knowledge. This 
interpretation is lent further credence by a number of other peculiarities 
evidenced not only in Hitler's behavior but in that of the SS as well. 32 

Case 3: There is nothing supernatural about the fact that Hitler was 
bending over a table to study a map on July 20, 1944 when the 
Stauffenberg bomb exploded. He certainly had no idea that an explosive 
would detonate under the table at that moment! Moreover, he did 
nothing on July 20 prior to this attempt on his life which deviated from 
his usual routine. 

It warrants mention that the conference took place that day in a 
barracks in which the force of the explosion would necessarily have 
caused less damage than in the underground bunker which was closed 
for repair work at the time. Failing to consider this factor was the 
would-be assassin's mistake; Hitler's escape was thus not the result of 
any counteraction he had taken in wise anticipation of the danger. 

Furthermore, Hitler was not the only survivor of the explosion: of a 
total of 21 persons present, only four suffered mortal injuries. Afterwards, 
he naturally exploited his "salvation" of July 20, 1944 for propa- 

22 



Hitler's Personality 

ganda purposes, insisting it had been a miraculous act of Providence; 
however, this case offers as little evidence as the others for his supposed 
"supernatural" ability to sense danger in the offing. He once claimed that 
he had "provided for every eventuality from the start," 33 but the facts of 
history prove the opposite: his pronounced lack of foresight in foreign 
policy is only one example. 

By contrast, in regard to matters of domestic policy Hitler was 
constantly on his guard. Unwilling to tolerate the slightest display of 
power outside his own sphere of influence, he nipped many 
developments in the bud which, left on their own, might have grown to 
present a threat. These moves were not, however, motivated by 
anything faintly resembling supernatural inspiration; they were the 
result of sober calculation on his part. 



23 



Introduction 



From 'Artist' to 'God-man' 



Hitler took pleasure in describing himself in conversation as an artist 
even when his thoughts were occupied with matters of a completely 
different nature, such as in the last days of August 1939, when he was 
attempting to explain German policy in Poland to the British 
Ambassador. 34 In Mein Kampf, i5 Hitler narrates in detail his youthful 
aspirations to become a painter, a career cut short by his failure to pass 
the entrance examinations to the academy in Vienna. 36 He was barred 
from studying architectural drawing as well, for he lacked a middle 
school diploma. 

These failures served only to intensify his desire to become an 
architect. The obstacles to this route lay both in financial considerations 
and in his strong aversion to any type of methodical application 
requiring attention to detail. 

Without means from the very beginning, he had no choice but to 
earn his living some way or another. He was not happy working as an 
unskilled construction laborer, and during this time he began to paint 
postcards, as a "beginning artist and watercolor painter," 37 as he referred 
to himself, and to sell his attempts or have them sold in inns. Later, 
when he was a soldier and no longer needed to concern himself with the 
problem of earning his daily bread, he sketched and painted watercolors 
for his own enjoyment. His subjects were mainly landscapes and milieu 
scenes of occupied France. 

It must be conceded that Hitler did have a certain talent for 
watercolors. While the products of these artistic efforts are not 
overwhelming, there is nothing repulsive about them, notwithstanding 
claims to this effect. 

Similarly, the desire to mirror his own greatness and the greatness of 
the German Volk in gigantic monuments was not the sole motivation for 
his propensity for architecture. There is little doubt that Hitler could have 
made a passable architect had he devoted his intelligence and extra- 

24 



Hitler's Personality 

ordinary willpower to this end. He had a genuine sense of proportion and 
favored, in his architectural plans, the classicistic forms which 
characterized Munich's cityscape in the 19th century. The paintings he 
later commissioned and sponsored reflected the naturalist style of that 
period as well. It was one of his pet ideas to erect a huge art gallery in the 
city of Linz, where he had gone to school. This plan occupied his 
thoughts even on April 29, 1945, when he was drawing up his last will and 
testament. 38 

"I think I am one of the most musical people in the world," Hitler 
once noted in jest to the English journalist Ward Price, 39 claiming to 
have heard Wagner's Meistersinger von Niirnberg a hundred times. 

Hitler's affinity for Richard Wagner went beyond purely musical 
considerations. He was at least as impressed by the concepts of heroic 
saga, mystic mission and redemption manifested in the master's works 
as by the self-assurance of a man whose only self-willed epitaph was his 
own name and who deemed that the veneration of mere men could not 
even approximate a true appreciation of his genius. 40 All the same, 
Hitler did exhibit a bent for music. Claims that, aside from Wagnerian 
operas, he attended only Lehar's Lustige Witwe, are unsubstantiated. 
While it is true that he whistled melodies from this and other operettas 
to himself when in a good mood, 41 he was equally fond of attending 
operas by Verdi, Puccini and Mozart. Less enthralling to him were 
orchestral and chamber arrangements, but at official functions or in 
small circles he nevertheless listened to them without becoming bored. 

These interests in painting, sculpture, architecture and music 
constitute the sum of Hitler's cultural leanings. Although he did 
occasionally attend theater performances, he was never able to develop 
any liking or real comprehension of German literature, philosophy or 
the humanities in general. At most, he accepted the ideas of Nietzsche, 
Hegel, Schopenhauer and Oswald Spengler, but only insofar as they 
appeared to lend support to his theories of power and struggle. Spengler 
instantly fell out of his favor when, upon Hitler's seizure of power, he 
ventured to voice doubts as to the future development of National 
Socialism. 42 The sole intellectual discipline which held any attraction for 
Hitler was technology. He was interested primarily in motorization, 
roadbuilding and the construction of fortifications, armaments and 
other military aspects of technological science. 

Hitler's personal library was pitiful, a fact even his secretaries 
noticed, 43 for it was confined to technical manuals and popular-science 

25 



Introduction 

volumes of a general nature. Although he claimed to have read an 
"infinite number of books" 44 during his time in Vienna, his reading was 
in general haphazard and hasty, and the bulk consisted primarily of 
political and pseudohistorical volumes with a nationalistic slant. The 
idea of literature as a valuable and significant source of education for the 
intellect as well as for one's Weltanschauung were alien concepts to one 
as autodidactic as himself. His tremendous powers of retention and 
recall enabled him to store whatever he had read and reproduce it 
whenever a fitting opportunity arose. His speeches illustrate the skill 
with which he could adjust style and content like a chameleon to suit his 
respective audience. 

In his opinion, the spoken word or the printed record of an oral 
proclamation completely eclipsed the impact of the "written word" in 
books. Not surprisingly, Hitler's own works Mein Kampf and Zweites 
Buch 45 were tedious in comparison to his oratory. Notwithstanding the 
fact that millions of copies of Mein Kampf were printed, the book itself 
had no widespread impact. Not even his closest staff actually read it, let 
alone any significant number of his lesser party comrades. And even 
those of his followers who claimed to have applied themselves to the 
volume, admitted, if pressed, that they had not proceeded much further 
than the descriptions of Hitler's youth in the opening chapters. 

The speeches on art and culture which he delivered faithfully at the 
party conventions in Nuremberg and art exhibitions in Munich left 
much to be desired. With pedantic verbosity he characteristically held 
forth at length, attempting to instill in his remarks the character of 
ageless wisdom. He personally detested modern art, holding it to be 
"degenerated" (entartet), and did not hesitate to make a virtue— and a 
law— of his private dislike, ordering that this style be banned and 
artwork exhibiting it be confiscated by the state. 46 Hitler loathed 
"intellectuals," scorning them and castigating their human weaknesses, 
their arrogance, their penchant for finding fault, and their lack of 
heroism — all the while instinctively sensing that, if anyone, it was most 
likely to be intellectuals who would not succumb to his power and 
would be more discriminating with regard to his hysterical nationalistic 
slogans, which, in the sober historical perspective, very soon proved to 
be a miscalculation and a Utopian vision. 

Hitler's battle against intellectual critics and the "upper class" 
persisted throughout his rule. Again and again he directed his tirades 
against these groups in helpless rage, never managing to bring them 
completely under his control. 47 His railings included the following: 

26 



Hitler's Personality 

One thing I cannot bearare people whose sole activity consists of criticizing 
the activities of others. 48 

I want to differentiate here between the Volk, i.e. the healthy, full-blooded 
mass of Germany loyal to the Volk, and a decadent, so-called high society, 
unreliable because only conditionally linked by blood. It is sometimes casually 
referred to as the "upper class," being, however, in reality no more than the 
scum produced by a societal mutation gone haywire from having had its blood 
and thinking infected by cosmopolitism. 49 

When I take a look at the intellectual classes we have — unfortunately, I 
suppose, they are necessary; otherwise one could one day, I don't know, 
exterminate them (ausrotten) or something — but unfortunately they're 
necessary. So when I take a look at these intellectual classes and imagine their 
behavior and take a closer look, in comparison to myself, and to our work, 
then I almost get scared. For since I have been politically active and particularly 
since I began to lead this Reich, I have experienced only successes. And all the 
same, this mass is floating around, often in such a positively repulsive, 
nauseating way. What would happen if we ever suffered a defeat? It is a 
possibility, gentlemen. Can you imagine how this race of chickens would act 
then, given the chance? 50 

The open animosity Hitler had for intellectuals was more than 
merely the resentment of the half-educated man in the face of the trained 
thinker — it was a virtual admission of his own inadequacy. 

Hitler had conceived of his lifelong goals as early as 1919 and rigidly 
adhered to them until his death, regardless of how glaringly they clashed 
with reality. On matters of principle, i.e. in respect to these 
preconceived ideas, he was unwilling to accept even the best advice and 
staunchly refused to pay the slightest attention to the existence of other 
views or to irrefutable facts not consistent with the standpoints he had 
adopted in 1919. 

In order to comprehend his aims and the manner in which he 
attempted to achieve them, one must bear in mind Hitler's theory of the 
"Man at Thirty." He upheld the conviction that a man could change his 
views on the world only prior to that age; thereafter, these would 
become irrevocable, and there would be no necessity to "learn anything 
anew." At most, only minor additions might be made to the existing 
structure. He summed up his feelings on this point as follows: 51 

It is my conviction that, in general, aside from cases of exceptional talent, a 
man should not become publicly involved in politics before his thirtieth year. 
He should not do this because as a rule, until this time, a general platform is 
being constructed from which he then examines the various political problems 
and ultimately determines his own position on them. Only after arriving at this 
Weltanschauung and the resultant constancy of his own point of view in regard 

27 



Introduction 

to the questions of the day should or may he, now at least inwardly matured, 
take part in the political leadership of the general public. 

Even a thirty-year-old will, in the course of his lifetime, have much more to 
learn, but this will be merely to supplement and fill out the frame given him by 
the Weltanschauung he has adopted. In principle, his learning will no longer 
consist of new materials, but rather of supplements to his basic philosophy, and 
his followers will not be forced to stifle the anxious feeling that they have been 
misinformed by him prior thereto; on the contrary: the visible, organic growth 
of the Fiihrer will give them a sense of satisfaction, for his learning is a 
reinforcement of their own theories. This, in their eyes, is proof that their views 
hitherto have been correct. 

A Fiihrer who is forced to depart from the platform of his general 
Weltanschauung as such because he has recognized it to be false only then acts 
decently if, upon realizing the error of his prior view, he is willing to draw the 
final consequence. In such a case, he must, at the very least, forego the public 
exercise of any further political activities. Because he was once mistaken in his 
basic beliefs, it is possible that this could happen a second time. 

These remarks also explain Hitler's fear of having to admit even a 
single mistake, a fear which would accompany him throughout his life, 
for under no circumstances would he have been willing to draw the 
"consequence" he himself proposed. 

Hitler had reached the milestone of thirty in 1919, and all of the 
ideas he had conceived of and judged correct prior thereto were to 
endure as his incontrovertible basic principles. Remaining within this 
logic, Hitler claimed that he had, in the course of the preceding years, 
laid a "philosophic foundation of granite," and asserted, "in addition to 
what I once created, I have had to learn little, and needed to change not 
a thing." 52 Mein Kampf~was the forum for his fixed views on the world, 
valid for all time. Not only did he intend never to amend them; he 
intended to make them reality one step at a time. 

Refusing to the very last to retreat an inch from these preconceived 
ideas, he adamantly rejected even first-hand reports if they did not 
appear to confirm his opinions. 

I have only been able to score these successes ... because 1 have never allowed 
weaklings to talk me out of or lead me away from an opinion I had once formed 
and ... because I have always resolved under any circumstances to respond to a 
necessity once recognized. 53 

What was his premise for this peculiar theory of the "Man at Thirty"? 
It would be safe to assume that its roots lay in the Bible. Christ had begun 
teaching only after he had reached the age of thirty, and considering that 
Hitler perceived himself a heaven-sent Messiah, he doubtless believed 

28 



Hitler's Personality 

to have come of age for this role at thirty. Furthermore, his participation 
in World War I from 1914 to 1918 concluded shortly before the end of his 
thirtieth year, and he may well have regarded this experience as a last 
anointing prior to taking on his mission in a new life untainted by human 
fallibility. 

In respect to Hitler's views on religion, it should be noted that he 
was baptized and raised as a Roman Catholic, and the attitudes instilled 
in him early on had a lasting impact upon his thinking. He greatly 
admired the colossal organization of the Catholic Church and was 
impressed by both the psychic power it exercised over its followers and 
the strict and devoted adherence to dogmas it practiced. Although he did 
not abide by the Church's commandments, he remained personally 
attached to Catholic ways of thinking even into the initial years of his 
rule. As late as 1933, he still described himself publicly as a Catholic. 54 
Only the spreading poison of his lust for power and self-idolatry finally 
crowded out the memories of childhood beliefs, and in 1937, he 
jettisoned the last of his personal religious convictions, declaring to his 
comrades, "Now I feel as fresh as a colt in the pasture." 55 

In his speeches, Hitler nonetheless continued to invoke "God," "the 
Almighty" and "Providence" (Vorschung), doing so not merely as a 
means to an end or in a blasphemous sense. He actually believed in a 
god, but it was not the same God who has been worshipped by the 
peoples of this planet for millenniums as the preserver and protector of 
all life: it was even less the God whose highest commandment requires 
one to love one's neighbor. 

The god in whom Hitler believed was the peculiarly German god 
whose name was inscribed on the belt buckles of both the old and the 
new German Army. 56 

It was the god who "let iron grow" and wanted "no slaves," who 
therefore armed the Germans with "saber, sword and spear." 57 Hitler 
once noted to the English journalist, Ward Price: 58 

I believe in God, and I am convinced that He will not desert sixty-seven 
million Germans who have worked so hard to regain their rightful position in 
the world. 

On another occasion, he stressed in a public speech: 59 

I, too, am religious; that is, religious deep inside, and I believe that 
Providence weighs us human beings, and that he who is unable to pass the test 
of Providence but is destroyed by it has not been destined for greater things. 

29 



Introduction 

Hitler's god sat enthroned somewhere above the clouds, looking 
down and taking note of whether the Germans were indeed united, 
strong and truly willing to persevere; he sent down test upon test in 
which the Germans were to demonstrate their firmness and resolution. 
And were they to prevail, this god would finally bestow upon them — 
the best Volk — the crown of supremacy over all other people in 
fulfillment of Geibel's prophecy, "And the essence of what is German 
shall one day heal the world." 60 

This was to culminate in the establishment of a tremendous, Utopian 
Reich, comparable to a new Atlantis, in a world ruled by super-human 
Aryans, the legitimate heirs of the Holy Grail. Hitler exposed this 
National Socialist aim not only in his inner circle, 61 but stated it 
unequivocally in Mein Kampf: bl 

A state which is dedicated, in this age of racial poisoning, to cultivating its 
best racial elements, must one day become master over the earth. 

This objective bears a striking similarity to the drive for world 
supremacy Hitler so often ascribed to the 'International Jewry' in his 
book. 

Hitler believed in his mythical god with unshakable fervor and was 
firmly convinced that this being had chosen him from among the 
millions of German soldiers of World War I as the best, the most 
unyielding and the most courageous of all, the one man capable of 
raising Germany from out of its humiliation to new glory, destined to 
ultimately redeem the entire world. Thus the Reich Hitler had created, 
having once passed the scrutiny of Providence, would never again wane. 
He stated on various occasions: 

I believe that it was also God's will that from here [Austria] a boy was to be 
sent into the Reich, allowed to mature, and elevated to become the nation's 
Fiihrer. 63 

I follow the path assigned to me by Providence with the instinctive sureness 
of a sleepwalker. 64 

When I look back on the five years behind us, I cannot help but say: this has 
not been the work of man alone. Had Providence not guided us, I surely would 
often have been unable to follow these dizzying paths. 63 

The Almighty will always help those who help themselves. 66 

God formed this Volk, and it has become what it should according to God's 
will, and according to our will, it shall remain, nevermore to fade! 67 

Work such as ours which has received the blessings of the Omnipotent can 
never again be undone by mere mortals. 68 

God helped us. 69 

30 



Hitler's Personality 

Where will and faith so fervently join forces, Heaven cannot withhold its 
approval. 70 

Hitler construed "faith" to mean none other than the German Volk's 
faith in himself. He declared: 

German Volk, I have taught you to have faith, now give me your faith! 71 
What has happened in these past weeks is the result of the triumph of an idea, 
a triumph of will, and even a triumph of persistence and tenacity, and above all 
it is the result of a miracle of faith, for only faith could have moved these 
mountains. I once went forth with my faith in the German people and took up 
this immeasurable struggle. With faith in me, first thousands, then hundreds of 
thousands, and finally millions have followed after me. 72 

His many victories and triumphs were, he felt, visible proof sent 
down from this god, confirmation that he was on the right path; every 
danger he withstood and surmounted became yet further evidence of 
divine approval. In each decision, he was guided by the will of 
Providence. 

His own doubts he drowned out by claiming absolute infallibility. 
He deemed his judgment irreproachable, not only in respect to the 
present and the future (he had, it will be remembered, "provided for 
every eventuality from the start"), but also in view of the past. In his 
speeches, Hitler was always able to find or manufacture some 
mysterious reason explaining that even glaringly inaccurate prognoses 
and false decisions had, in retrospect, been right after all. Toward the 
end of his rule, this insistence upon his own flawlessness was to become 
increasingly grotesque as the gulf between what he had predicted and 
what had come to pass grew more unbridgeable with each passing day. 

The image of the God-man which Hitler wished to personify was, of 
course, incompatible with human fallibility, making him anxious to 
conceal from the German people anything which he construed as a 
weakness. 

For example, Hitler never appeared in public wearing eyeglasses; 
nor did he ever allow any pictures of him wearing them to be published. 

He also took great pains to ensure that no details of his scarce love 
affairs leaked out to the public. Except for a chosen few, the Germans 
at large were kept in ignorance, first hearing, for instance, the name of 
Eva Braun 73 only subsequent to Hitler's death. The God-man Hitler 
fancied himself to be was a more or less sexless creature, above and 
beyond the paltriness of human emotions and passions. His heart 
belonged not to the female sex, but exclusively to the German Volk. A 

31 



Introduction 

superior entity of this kind therefore would have no need of hedonic 
pleasures or stimulants. He held that this monastic being should 
partake neither of alcohol nor tobacco and even denied himself the 
consumption of meat. 

While Hitler did not take the precept of sexual abstinence all too 
seriously and was unable to completely dispense with wearing glasses 
despite his use of oversized letters (1 cm) on the so-called Fiihrermaschine 
typewriter, he did abstain quite strictly from alcohol, tobacco and 
meat. 74 There is, however, speculation that these last habits were in 
truth manifestations of his hypochondriac pathophobia. The projected 
image of the ascetic is further incompatible with Hitler's frequent use of 
the stimulating drugs increasingly administered to him by his personal 
physician, Dr. Theo Morell, from the late 1930's onward. 75 

The God-man, in Hitler's view, also comprised the court of final 
judgment, the supreme judge endowed with a veritably supernatural 
authority comparable to that which Christ once bestowed upon Peter 
("Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven"). 76 The God- 
man therefore had a divine right to determine the fate of all Germans; 
the fate of non-Germans hardly qualifying for his consideration. 
Whomever he deemed worthy of death was destined to die. Conversely, 
whomever he deemed worthy to live was allowed to do so and even — 
given good behavior — granted special privileges. 

According to Hitler's view of the world, the devil incarnate who 
represented a threat to the divine plan and designed to rob the German 
people of their rightful reward was Jewry. Infiltrating every corner of 
the world, it existed for the sole purpose of draining the peoples of the 
world economically, of corrupting their moral integrity and bringing 
about their physical destruction. 

The Jews, as Hitler presented it, were particularly bent upon 
destroying the German people. Every enemy of Germany and — since 
Germany and Hitler were synonymous — every opponent of the Fiihrer 
was deemed Jewry's accomplice, whether these parties were 
Freemasons, Bolshevists, gypsies, or members of a foreign race. To ban 
this evil was to "fulfill the work of the Lord," as Hitler wrote in Mein 
Kampf. 77 The dictator was indeed adept at drumming up credence for 
such beliefs: "Providence has preordained me to be the greatest liberator 
of humanity" 78 — he ultimately had taken on the role of Savior himself. 



32 



Political Aims 



'Patriotism' 

In the main, Hitler's political aims involved foreign affairs. He 
viewed his domestic policies as the necessary prerequisites for a "strong" 
foreign policy, i.e. mere tools for concentrating power in a single hand. 

From the time of his youth, Hitler had been accustomed to equating 
his own personal happiness with Germany's welfare and power. He 
took the collapse of the imperial regime and the military defeat of 1918 
to heart, perceiving Germany's fate as a personal injustice to himself. 
Upon hearing the news of the surrender, he wept bitterly. 79 

Hitler was not alone in feeling that a world was falling apart at the 
end of World War I. Many Germans had deluded themselves into 
believing in a strong and unconquerable Germany and this illusion was 
blasted in the face of harsh reality. 

Just as Hitler categorically refused to admit a mistake or assume the 
slightest responsibility for any errors on his part, he made no attempt to 
understand the catastrophe of 1918 in terms of the imperial 
government's own policies or as a result of poor judgment in regard to 
Germany's military and economic potential; moreover, he simply chose 
to disregard the enemy's sheerly overwhelming numerical superiority. 
Instead he believed the reasons for the defeat lay in betrayal and in the 
doings of secret forces, among them the Jews and the Freemasons. Those 
directly to blame, in his opinion, were the German politicians who had 
signed the Armistice, although in reality they had had no control over 
Germany's political and military leadership. Hitler became a zealous 
advocate of the Dolchstosslegende (the "legend of the stab in the back" 80 ), 
and vowed to become a politician so that he might finally wreak revenge 
upon the Social Democrats and the Marxists. He labelled them the 
"November Criminals," making public threats that he would bring 
them to court when he seized power and "let their heads roll." 81 

33 



Introduction 

When he finally took office as Reich Chancellor after fourteen years 
of domestic "struggle," he was unable to prosecute the guilty parties as 
planned for the simple reason that there had been no "November 
Criminals" and the imperial army had not been "stabbed in the back." 
But other heads began to roll: the heads of those who were not willing 
to submit to Hitler's rule. 

In the initial years of Hitler's government, his patriotism proved 
somewhat onesided, in essence nothing other than a vehicle for his own 
display of power. When all was said and done, he was thoroughly 
indifferent to the fate of the German people, viewing them merely as the 
instrumental Volk which played a subordinate and narrowly defined 
role in his despotic drama. If they refused to acquiesce and resisted his 
plans, he was determined to use brute force, and stated so quite openly: 82 

We perceive in this historical evidence of Teutonism the unconscious 
mandate vested by Fate: to unite this stubborn German Volk, if necessary by 
force. That was, in terms of history, just as necessary then as it is necessary 
today. 

Above all, in the course of World War II the German dictator 
unhesitatingly sacrificed millions of Germans for the mere sake of 
proving his "perseverance" theory. Accordingly, the "last battalion" on 
the battlefield would be "a German one." 83 Hitler once declared, "I 
believe I have a right to say that, had Fate put me at the helm [in 1918], 
this collapse would never have come about." 84 In World War II he did 
in fact stand at the helm, but he steered Germany into a political and 
military catastrophe far graver than that of 1918. In 1945 he not only 
had no intention of allowing himself to be "beaten to pieces for this 
German Volk," 85 he was not even willing to bear the same burden he 
had foisted upon the shoulders of his fellow countrymen, as he had 
promised: 86 

Today I am as willing as I was before to make any personal sacrifice. [ — ] 
Germans should not be asked to make any sacrifices I myself would not make 
without an instant's hesitation! 

He was even less willing to assume the responsibility for how he ran 
the government, let alone allow the German people to "crucify" him: a 
retaliation he had proposed should he ever fail. Of his various vows in 
this vein, he kept not one. They included the following: 

German Volk, give us four years, and I swear to you, just as we, just as I have 
taken this office, so shall I leave it. 87 

34 



RjHticaL Aims 

The German Volk shall then form its judgment, take its decision and pass 
sentence upon me, and then, for all I care, it can crucify me if it finds that I have 
not done my duty. 88 

If ever I were to err here, or should the Volk ever be of the opinion that it 
cannot agree with my actions, then it may have me executed. I will calmly stand 
firm." 89 

No action will take place for which I will not vouch with my life, as this 
Volk be my witness. 90 

I wish to bear the entire responsibility. 91 

We are responsible for that which we shall one day leave behind to those 
who shall come after us. For Germany must not end with us. 92 

Hitler would never assume this highly touted responsibility to the 
German people but would abruptly take his leave by pressing a trigger 
when the sum of his foreign policies and military operations proved a 
grave miscalculation. 

The suffering of the German people interested him only insofar as 
he was able to turn it to a profit at home or abroad. When he himself 
had caused the hardships, they were declared an unavoidable sacrifice 
which had to be made for the glory of Germany. 

Mussolini, the senior among the European dictators of the time, 
reacted differently to defeat, accepting his dismissal in 1943 — when 
Italy's imminent collapse was evident — and refraining from appealing to 
the Italians to continue fighting for the regime. He had remained 
human. The "God-man" Hitler, however, showed no mercy for the 
German people. 

"Were I given the gift of continents, I would still prefer being even the 
poorest citizen of this Volk," 93 he declared, but his sole objective, to 
which everything else was subordinated, lay in the exercise of naked 
power. As a 'German,' 94 he was initially confined to establishing his 
supremacy in his own country. But he doubtless would have attempted to 
realize his visions of unbounded power in any other nation offering 
prospects of success. He would not, for instance, have been averse to using 
France as a base for the international empire of the future, for Hitler 
believed himself capable of motivating the French to comparable, if not 
even greater accomplishments than those of the Germans. Particularly 
characteristic of this attitude is a remark he made in 1933, when he 
exclaimed, "If I were Propaganda Minister for France — poor Germany!" 95 
Three years later, he went so far as to deny any aspirations to 
military supremacy, stating: 96 

35 



Introduction 

I can only say that my ambition is directed toward other triumphs. [ — ] It is 
my ambition to establish a memorial to myself within the German Volk. But I 
am also aware that it would be better to erect this memorial in peacetime rather 
than in times of war. My ambition is aimed at creating the best possible 
institutions for training our Volk. It is my will that we in Germany have the 
greatest stadiums; that our road network is expanded; that our culture becomes 
elevated and refined; I want our cities to become beautiful; I want to put 
Germany at the top in every field of human cultural life and cultural aspiration. 
That is my ambition! 

The memorial Adolf Hitler erected to himself "within the German 
Volk" bears no resemblance to this vision. 



36 



Political Ai 



ims 



Anti-Semitism 



In Germany, one is occasionally confronted with the opinion that 
Hitler's rule was basically a good thing — he had only gone too far in 
persecuting the Jews and starting the war. 

This viewpoint does little justice to reality, however, for both the 
holocaust of the Jews and the outbreak of the war were no more than 
the — albeit ghastly — end sum of Hitler's politics and particularly the 
logical consequences of his foreign policy. Moreover, the final form each 
of these aspects took did not match Hitler's original plans, or at least he 
had envisioned a different chronology of events. 

In his public and private speeches prior to 1939, Hitler had not 
announced in so many words his intention to annihilate all Jews, nor 
had he disclosed the means he would use to do so. Even during the War 
when his machinery of destruction was running at top capacity, he 
confined his remarks on a massacre of the Jews to threats within the 
scope of his foreign policy, knowing only too well that such an openly 
propagated program of extermination was certain to meet with 
resistance from the majority of the German people and the bulk of his 
party followers. 

Anti-Semitism had existed in Germany for centuries— at times open, 
at times latent— serving always as tinder when the flames of revolution 
and war swept the country, and often erupting into pogroms and other 
similar forms of persecution. However, these were phenomena not 
peculiar to Germany alone, but in evidence to greater and lesser degrees 
in many other European countries. One of the more obvious causes for 
such hostility lay in the fact that many— and naturally above all the 
orthodox— Jews were, in terms of daily life, a group apart: easily isolated 
as the alien and incomprehensible "other" due to a different 
physiognomy, distinctive dress, and a foreign cultural heritage 
characterized by traditions and habits in contrast to their environment. 

37 



Introduction 

The Dutch historian Louis de Jong 97 has argued conclusively that in 
wartime a person need only have an outer appearance differing from 
that of the normal citizen to be suspected, with no further 
substantiation, of being a spy and a traitor or to fall prey to the lynch- 
law of an aroused mob in search of a scapegoat. In both World Wars, 
countless members of almost all of the European peoples were arrested, 
persecuted and even killed as spies, traitors, enemy collaborators, etc.— 
although they were completely innocent, and had aroused suspicion 
only by their appearance. 

Throughout the course of centuries, anti-Semitic tendencies had 
been reinforced in the German population by government measures, 
such as segregation of the Jews in ghettos, restrictions on their gainful 
employment, and other special and discriminatory laws. They were 
barred from certain civil servant posts and military careers, and this 
form of social injustice persisted even into the First World War. 

The two Christian churches in Germany had made it a practice of 
brandmarking Jews as the heathens who had nailed Christ to the cross. 
The devil as depicted in Christian publications more often than not 
exhibited Jewish facial features. 

One of the few professions open to the Jews from the very 
beginning was that of banking. Jews were more generous in granting 
credit than the other banking institutions, often providing funds to 
customers who had long been declared unworthy of credit. Yet, when 
Jewish bankers demanded repayment plus interest and initiated the 
standard enforcement measures, they were rewarded with ill-repute and 
decried as profiteers and sharks. 

When the Jews were finally granted admission to academic 
professions in the 19th and 20th centuries, German lawyers, physicians, 
journalists, etc. were suddenly confronted with the competition of large 
numbers of Jewish colleagues. As long as the economy remained intact, 
this did not present a problem. But when the crises of the 1920's and 
1930's hit, the cry arose in academic circles that the Jews should be 
ousted or their numbers in these fields limited to their percentage in the 
population as a whole. 

At the time National Socialism was beginning to take hold, it was 
widely held that the Jews were responsible for every mishap in Germany 
from the early Middle Ages to the 20th century. By 1918 at the latest, 
anti-Semitism was playing an integral and open part in nationalist circles 
and parties throughout the country. The extremist right-wing Freikorps, 
returning home from the Baltic, established the swastika — which had 

38 



Political Ai 



ims 



been in existence for millenniums 98 — as a popular symbol of anti- 
Semitism in Germany. In Austria, the swastika was first introduced as an 
Aryan symbol by Guido von List at the beginning of the 20th century. 
He and Lanz von Liebenfels, the founder of the Ordo Novi Templi and 
editor of the Ostara pamphlets, formed the core of a mystical anti-Semitic 
movement in Vienna, which had a major influence on Hitler and during 
the formative phase of National Socialism." 

Anti-Semitism and the Germanic cult were closely related to esoteric 
doctrines. These less tangible roots of National Socialism remained 
largely hidden from the public eye, notwithstanding the penchant for 
the occult displayed by Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler and the 
National Socialist ideologist, Alfred Rosenberg. Hitler, too, had been 
exposed to secret sciences, and in more intimate circles he occasionally 
remarked on the esoteric goals of National Socialism." 100 As was the case 
with other leading National Socialists, Hitler upheld ties to the Thule 
Society in the early 1920s, which cultivated a volkisch and anti-Semitic 
image but whose inner circle was devoted to the study of the occult. 101 

Hitler's own antipathy toward the Jews was a combination of innate 
dislike, construed hatred and vague racial ideas preconditioned by the 
doctrines of Gobineau and Houston Steward Chamberlain. In reality, 
neither he nor any members of his family had ever had any unfavorable 
experiences with Jews. Hitler even wrote that, in his youth, he had been 
outraged by anti-Semitic remarks and got along well with his Jewish 
peers. 102 This changed when he was first confronted with immigrants 
from Galicia with their curls and black kaftans: he regarded these Jews 
as alien creatures, and they aroused his aversion. Had there been a larger 
percentage of blacks in Germany, this race would also certainly have 
prompted his response of innate, primitive antagonism. The gypsies, 
another people which did not disguise its different cultural traditions, 
met with nearly the same fate as the Jews during the Third Reich. 

Every subject with which Hitler could find fault in Vienna served 
only to aggravate his hostility toward Jewry: the internationally-oriented 
Marxist organizations, the parliament, the press, and modern art. 

When he further concluded from the anti-Semitic tracts circulating at 
the time and the invective he witnessed at pseudopolitical meetings that 
the Jews allegedly upheld an organization which surreptitiously ruled the 
world and planned to undermine Germany's international standing, 103 he 
made of his suspicions a holy crusade: the Jews were indeed to blame 
for Germany's tragedy and the catastrophe of 1918. They were 

39 



Introduction 

none other than devils in disguise, and combatting them was but doing 
the work of the Lord. In Mein Kampf, Hitler conjured up an apocalyptic 
vision of this satanic world conspiracy: 104 

If, with the aid of his Marxist creed, the Jew triumphs over the peoples of 
this world, then his coronation will be the dance of death for humanity, and this 
planet will once more drift through the ether devoid of human life, as it did 
millions of years ago. Eternal Nature is relentless in avenging transgressions of 
her laws. 

Hence I believe I am acting in accordance with the wishes of the Almighty 
Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the 
Lord. 105 

At the time Hitler and his infant NSDAP were beginning to play a 
role in the Germany of the 1920's, his anti-Semitic slogans were not 
taken seriously by the bulk of the population. Phraseology of this type 
belonged, as a rule, to the basic vocabulary of the various volkisch and 
nationalistic groups which flourished at the time. 

After Hitler took power, a practical solution to what was regarded as 
the Jewish problem was promised. Both the German people and the 
National Socialists entertained such solutions as, for instance, removing 
Jews from public office, curbing their influence in the economy and, as a 
last resort, bringing about their emigration from Germany. The 
application of pinprick tactics was to render staying in Germany so 
difficult for Jews that they would soon resign of their own volition and 
leave the country. "Out with the Jews!" was the refrain of one National 
Socialist fight song, and this was also the aim presented first to party 
members and then to the German people as Hitler's ultimate goal. For 
years there was talk about shipping the Jews to some obscure location 
such as the island of Madagascar. And while this type of forced emigration 
would have been unjust and hard, it would not have been the first time in 
the history of mankind — nor in the short space of the early 20th century — 
that similar events had taken place; one need only recall the deportation 
of 1.5 million Greeks from Asia Minor following the war between 
Turkey and Greece in 1922. In any case, this fate would by no means have 
been comparable to the massacre and extermination Hitler ultimately 
practiced on millions of Jews during the Second World War. 

From the very onset, he did not seriously consider evacuating the 
Jews as a viable alternative. Initially, Hitler wanted to continue to utilize 
this group as the enemy personified. 106 Later, he had a further motive: 
exploiting the Jews as hostages within the scope of his foreign policy and 
as a means of exerting pressure on foreign countries. His belief in 

40 



Political Aims 

the existence of a secret Jewish world government was genuine, as is 
evident in his various remarks to this effect in Mein Kampf. In fact, 
Hitler held so fast to his conviction of the strong lobby of "International 
Jewry" on Western governments that he actually expected them to react 
favorably to his policies of expansion to the East. It was his firm belief 
that Jews worldwide would successfully bear down on the governments 
to exhibit restraint in dealing with Germany in the hope of saving the 
'Jewish hostages' if he threatened to annihilate them. 

As is illustrated in this work, the actions taken against German Jews 
on April 1, 1933 and November 9-10, 1938 were motivated by foreign 
policy considerations 107 and similarly, the mass extermination program 
put into practice from 1941 to 1945 grew out of the same logic. 

As early as March 29, 1933, Hitler had declared: 108 

However, Judentum must realize that a Jewish war against Germany would 
hit Judentum in Germany itself with full force. 

And on January 30, 1941, he had stated: 109 

I would not like to forget the point I made previously on September 1, 1939 
before the German Reichstag. 110 That is, that if the Jews should succeed in 
plunging the rest of the world into a world war, then the entire Jewish race will 
have played out its role in Europe. 

As 1941 came to an end, bringing with it — despite Hitler's 
prophecies— neither the defeat of the Soviet Union nor peace with 
England, he once more hoisted the blame upon the Jews and promised 
retaliation: 111 

I predicted on September 1, 1939 before the German Reichstagand I am 
careful to refrain from rash prophecies — that this war will not end the way the 
Jews would have it, namely with the extermination of all European and Aryan 
peoples, but the result of this war will be the annihilation of the Jewish race. 

These were reprisals Hitler had announced early on. Ultimately, he 
made good his threats, ordering his SS henchmen to liquidate millions 
of Jewish men, women and children. The success he had hoped to 
achieve — i.e. the willingness of the West to make peace on his terms — 
had failed to materialize and left him with the consequences of yet 
another irrational estimation of reality. 



41 



Introduction 



Domestic Policy 

The German people as a whole generally expressed as little interest 
in Hitler's foreign policy aims as in his anti-Semitic slogans. One must 
bear in mind that his domestic policies were instrumental in persuading 
the populace to elect him. 

Circumstances played into Hitler's hands in the years 1920 to 1923, 
when postwar misery, inflation and economic ruin had shattered 
Germany, and once more ten years later, when the world depression 
had taken its toll and there were millions of unemployed. 

In the interim years of economic prosperity, Hitler made little 
impact. His ideas were dismissed as the folly of a failed putschist and 
eccentric, a fact best illustrated in the election results of 1928, in which 
the National Socialists won only twelve seats in the Reichstag. Two 
years later, on September 14, 1930, their number skyrocketed to 107, to 
increase on July 31, 1932 to a total of 230 deputies — an election in which 
thirteen million Germans cast their ballots for Adolf Hitler. 

At the time, Reich Chancellor von Papen had declared, "Herr 
Hitler, you are only here because there is a crisis!" Hitler countered in a 
public assembly with the words, "if good fortune were here, I would not 
be needed, and I would not be here, either!" 112 

What was Hitler's persuasive cure for the ailing times? What was 
behind the domestic goals he used to mesmerize millions of Germans? 
An ostensible answer to this question lies in the 25 points comprising 
National Socialist policy at home and abroad which Hitler expounded 
in the Munich Festsaal of the Hofbrauhaus on February 24, 1920. 113 
However, Hitler himself set no great stock in this party program, a fact 
he frankly admitted in Mein Kampf. 114 The main thing, so he argued, was 
that the 25 points had been declared "inalterable." The form in which 
they were later to be put into practice was contingent upon the 
provisions passed for their implementation. In fact, however, numerous 

42 



Political Ai 



ims 



points were never tackled after Hitler's seizure of power, among them 
many domestic policy programs as, for instance, the abolishment of 
large department stores. The item professing belief in positive 
Christianity, to cite another, had most likely been a purely rhetorical 
claim from its very inception. 

In his speeches, Hitler rarely mentioned the official party program 
with the noted exception of his intention to abrogate the peace treaties 
of Versailles and St. Germain, which received all the more attention. 

For his battle on the home front Hitler had another, more tangible 
program in store. He propagated the belief that the source of all 
misfortune suffered by the German Volk lay solely in its lack of unity. 
The population, he contended, was split into classes, stations, religions, 
parties, etc. and thus hindered from fully developing its inherent 
potential. The movements of Nationalism and Socialism and their 
respective adherents represented two warring factions. It was his main 
objective to join these forces, and he predicted, "On that day when both 
ideas are molten into one, they will become invincible!" 115 Democracy 
as a form of government was doomed to extinction, he expounded, for 
it put only weaklings in power. Parliaments were nothing but talking 
shops; their longwinded debates made swift and reasonable decisions 
impossible. A single, authoritative will was called for. Ein Volk, ein 
Reich, ein Wille was the only feasible solution. The system which had 
been governing Germany since 1918 was, in his eyes, composed of 
traitors (the so-called "November Criminals") and "fulfillment 
politicians" in the thrall of the enemy: incompetent, inferior weaklings 
across the board. Were this system not eliminated without delay, the 
sorry fate of the German Volk would be sealed, and it would ultimately 
drown in "Bolshevist chaos." From a modern vantage point, these ideas 
may well appear wild and absurd, but in the troubled years of the early 
1930's, they seemed to hit the nail on the head in Germany. 

Just as the German governments of the Weimar Republic were not, 
contrary to Hitler's unfair accusations, responsible for the economic 
plight of the time, they were similarly in no position to eliminate or 
even relieve it. Moreover, they were not even capable of placating the 
public by adequately explaining that the international economic 
situation would improve of its own accord as it had in 1923 and thus 
relieve the suffering, at least in a psychological sense. 

As of 1930, the Social Democrats no longer took an active part in 
politics and restricted their activities to tolerating bourgeois cabinets. 
The party had become sterile, and it is a fact that many of the leading 

43 



Introduction 

Social Democrats of the time cared less about alleviating the misery at 
large than protecting their positions and status in the face of the surging 
ranks of National Socialists. They did not even consider once more 
climbing the barricades to defend the rights of the working people; 
instead, they gladly deserted their posts on July 20, 1932 on the occasion 
of von Papen's coup in Prussia, just as they were willing to step back in 
the spring of 1933 under Hitler in exchange for their retirement 
pensions. 

Empowered by Article 48, Reich Chancellor Heinrich Briining of the 
Center Party was free to rule with an iron hand — an unsatisfactory state 
of affairs for a government purporting to be a democracy. His "emergency 
decrees" did not suffice to bring unemployment under control. Briining 
held the opinion that Germany must "starve itself into shape," but his 
deflationary measures served only to aggravate the situation. By repeated 
and drastic cuts of up to more than twenty percent in civil servant salaries, 
pensions and retirement payments and by reducing government spending, 
he succeeded not only in provoking the rage of the powerful civil service 
sector and the middle class; to compound matters, the buying power of 
the people had been sharply reduced, resulting in a stagnation of the 
German economy as a whole. Increasing numbers of factories were forced 
to shut down, and farmers were hard put to sell their produce and 
ultimately sunk into debt. Hitler stood out of the direct line of fire and 
prophesied that, unless he was given the chance to rule the nation, matters 
were certain to worsen steadily. 

Hitler's economic program was the exact opposite of Briining's. 
With a sovereign disregard to money — a trait he also exhibited in his 
private affairs— he categorically refused to consider the objections of 
orthodox economists to his measures, insisting that it was ridiculous to 
back up German currency with gold or foreign exchange funds: 

Neither gold nor foreign exchange funds, but work alone is the foundation 
for money! 116 

The salvation of our Volk is not a financial problem; it is exclusively a 
problem of utilizing and employing the available work force on the one hand 
and exploiting available soil and mineral resources on the other. The 
Volksgemeinschaft does not subsist on the fictitious value of money but on 
actual production, which gives money its value. This production is the primary 
cover for a currency, not a bank or a vault full of gold! And when I increase this 
production, I am actually increasing the income of my fellow citizens; if I 
decrease production, I decrease income, regardless of what salaries are being paid 



44 



Political Ai 



ims 



In Hitler's view, Germany had at its disposal sufficient workers, raw 
materials and foodstuffs to solve its economic problems on its own. His 
slogan was, "Deutsche Arbeiter, fanget anf ("German workers, 
begin!"). 118 

The millions of Germans unemployed at the time were suffering less 
from material need — particularly as unemployment aid preserved them 
from the worst — than from the fact that they did not know what to do 
with their time and loitered aimlessly on streetcorners and squares. A 
popular newspaper quip had it that the cry for work was louder than the 
groans of the slaves in ancient Rome. 

Hitler had a remedy: he invited the unemployed to join his SA 
formations. There they would find what they were lacking: something 
to do and an ideal they could fight for. He elevated himself to their 
savior, declaring that he had given them a new faith and a new hope, and 
allowed himself to be worshipped like a god by his storm troopers. 
Perceptive of the more primitive instincts of the masses, he generously 
accommodated the German people's affinity for disciplined behavior, 
uniforms, decorations, parades, and military spectacles. 

Not surprisingly, the number of Hitler's supporters grew 
proportionately to economic need: on July 31, 1932, their forces 
amounted to thirteen million Germans, i.e. approximately 37 percent of 
the voting public. Nearly the entire Mittelstand, (middle-classes and 
petite bourgeoisie) including most civil servants, cast their votes for 
Hitler, as did the peasants (excepting those who were staunch Catholics) 
and naturally the right-wing extremists, the Freikorps and the bulk of 
the retired officers. Of the workers, only those voted for Hitler who 
wanted a radical change in the existing power structures at any cost and, 
depending upon the situation at the moment, supported either the 
Communists or the National Socialists. 

In spite of all his oratorical efforts, Hitler did not succeed in 
swaying the organized Social Democratic workers to support his rise to 
power. Although his arguments were not completely unjustified, he 
was unable to make any headway with this group by claiming that the 
higher echelons of the SPD and the trade unions (i.e. the Bonzen — "big 
shots"— as they were pejoratively referred to at the time) were taking 
little interest in the workers' plight. The SPD adherents countered with 
the equally not unwarranted argument that they had always been 
betrayed in the past and always would be in the future. They preferred 
"being betrayed by their own kind," as a popular slogan put it. Hitler 
also did not fare well with members of the Center Party before he took 

45 



Introduction 

power, for they were under the close guardianship of the clergy, the 
majority of whom rejected Hitler, albeit not for reasons of foreign 
policy. 

This lack of success with Center and SPD voters did not discourage 
Hitler: they could wait until after he seized power. At the time, he was 
more interested in persuading as many right-wing and Communist 
voters as possible to join his ranks with the aim of overcoming the fifty- 
percent hurdle. 

Communism and Reaktion were the only two potential adversaries 
Hitler took seriously. The Communist methods impressed him; he 
admired their conformity to one will, their obeyance to a single 
command and their readiness to fight their enemies in the streets if 
necessary. Bolshevism itself he dismissed as a primitive philosophy, 
perhaps just right for the Russians he so despised. Any further critical 
debate on its precepts he considered a waste of time: 

Communism is not a higher evolutionary stage, but the most primitive basic 
form of shaping peoples and nations. 119 

It is an ideology founded in a fear of one's neighbor, in a dread of somehow 
standing out, and is based upon a spiteful, envious cast of mind. This code of 
regression to the primitive state leads to cowardly, anxious acquiescence. 120 

Hitler had a simple recipe for contending with Communism: brute 
force, a method with which he achieved great success in Germany. 

As he saw it, Communism presented no danger whatsoever. On the 
contrary: the more Communists there were, the easier it was for him to 
intimidate the bourgeoisie and the reactionaries with the bogy of an 
impending Bolshevist revolution. 

Personally, he believed that the "primitive" German Communists 
had neither sufficient force nor intelligence to stage a successful 
rebellion in the critical years between 1930 and 1932, although he would 
not have begrudged the "Reds" a certain amount of success in doing 
away with the "upper ten thousand" and the "worthless Philistines" 
plaguing Germany. He declared quite openly: 121 

Had Communism really intended nothing more than a certain purification 
by eliminating the rotten elements from among the ranks of our so-called upper 
ten thousand or our equally worthless Philistines, one could have sat back 
quietly and looked on for a while. 

In the turbulent years following World War I, the Communists did, 
in fact, launch several attempts to overthrow the government, such as 
those in Munich, Saxony and the Ruhr District. The bourgeoisie still 
shuddered to think of the attendant horrors, the slaughtering of hostages 

46 



Political Ai 



ims 



and other acts of violence, although today it is difficult to determine 
which atrocities were worse: those committed by the Communist 
insurgents or those of the extreme right-wing Feme and the rampaging 
Soldateska. However, the period from 1930 to Hitler's takeover held no 
real danger of a Bolshevist coup. Moreover, Communist voters never 
made up more than seventeen percent of the population. 122 And this, 
Hitler argued, had been his doing. He threatened that, were the NSDAP 
not finally allowed to take power, his following would desert en bloc to 
the ranks of the KPD, and the country would be plunged into what he 
described as Bolshevist chaos. 

With the aid of this sophistry, he ultimately prevailed in convincing 
the reluctant German Nationalists, the reactionary Junkers, the leaders of 
industry, and the generals of the Reichswehr that it was imperative that 
he be placed at the head of government. Finally, made weary by financial 
need and the surfeit of successive elections, the German people could no 
longer resist the cry, "Put Hitler in power, and bad times will end!" 

Hitler had outlasted his reactionary opponents, but now he was 
called upon to demonstrate whether he could really provide the "work 
and bread" he had promised in dozens of speeches. And Hitler did prove 
that his economic theory was indeed the more effective, at least in the 
short term, given the circumstances at the time. A few months after he 
had seized power, unemployment figures dropped sharply; soon they 
ceased to be significant. Some observers have claimed that the increasing 
orders Hitler gave to the armament industry constituted the sole reason 
behind this accomplishment, but in those first decisive years, this factor 
played only a minor role. It is more correct to say that he boosted all 
sectors of the economy. Building owners were forced to have their 
dilapidated properties repaired; the construction industry was given 
work. The building of streets and bridges was commissioned; 
motorization was accelerated. Although the bulk of these measures 
consisted of governmentcommissioned jobs, private enterprise was also 
stimulated. Millions regained their means of existence. The farmers 
expressed their satisfaction with the new "autarky program." The 
workers were prospering, earning well and even receiving public 
acclaim for their efforts and being sent on vacations by the recreational 
organization Kraft durch Freude (Strength through joy). 

This miracle was naturally accomplished with the aid of the money 
press, using the method of excessive creation of currency by the 
so-called Mefo-Wechsel-System devised by Hitler's "financial wizard," 

47 



Introduction 

Hjalmar Schacht. 123 By simultaneously enforcing strict price controls, 
the Reich Government seemed able to finance arms production while 
bolstering the German mark even after gold coverage had been 
abandoned and foreign exchange control instituted. However, these 
artificial achievements were short-lived. The damage done to the 
currency in financing unrestrained arms production was knowingly 
accepted as unavoidable, for, as the gambler Hitler trusted, victorious 
campaigns would bring about a solution before the camouflaged 
inflation would break out. 

All the same, Hitler did demonstrate a certain talent for economic 
policy in the years following his takeover and this fact alone would have 
earned him recognition from the German people and toleration from the 
rest of the world. But Hitler planned to go down in history as much more 
than a politician with a keen grasp of economic realities: he wanted to 
exercise power — power over Germany, and power over the world. 

He might have been satisfied with the position of power he had 
achieved in Germany by 1933. For, in addition to the thirteen million 
Germans who had voted for him in 1932, now both the Social 
Democratic workers and the adherents of the Center Party pledged him 
their support in considerable numbers. 

In light of the National Socialist manipulations of the votes obvious 
since the election of November 12, 1933, it is difficult to accurately 
ascertain the percentage of Hitler's following in 1933; however, it 
unquestionably exceeded fifty percent. 

But to Hitler, all this was not enough. His lust for power was so 
great that he was unwilling to allow anyone else even the slightest 
political influence. He used every opportunity— above all, every genuine 
or construed crisis — to eliminate persons who had fallen into his 
disfavor, thereby misappropriating their privileges himself or seeing to 
it that these were played into the hands of loyal adherents. He used this 
recipe within his own party, in government, and later in the armed 
forces. Even during the war, Hitler never ceased his efforts to enlarge 
the sphere of his domestic power. 

When the SA threatened to mutiny in 1930, Hitler dismissed its 
leader, the retired Captain Pfeffer von Salomon, 124 declaring himself 
"Oberster SA Fuhrer" (OSAF) and the devoted Ernst Rohm, 125 a retired 
Captain, its new Chief of Staff. When Gregor Strasser, 126 Head of 
Political Organization, advocated a policy of alliance with Schleicher, 127 
Hitler branded him a traitor and proceeded to take over the leadership 
of the entire party organization. 

48 



Political Ai 



ims 



In 1941, when Rudolf Hess 128 disappeared to Britain, Hitler 
personally took over his vacated position and called upon the servile 
Martin Bormann 129 to assume the leadership of the Party Office. When 
Reich President von Hindenburg was hovering near death in 1934, 
Hitler made certain of one thing he alone would succeed the Old 
Gentleman as Head of State and Supreme Commander of the Armed 
Forces. 130 

When Reich Minister of War von Blomberg 131 opposed Hitler's 
wishes in 1938, the Fiihrer assumed his functions without further ado 
and simultaneously put the unpopular Commander in Chief of the 
Army, Freiherr von Fritsch, 132 to the sword. When in 1941 the German 
Army failed to take Moscow, Hitler used Field Marshal von 
Brauchitsch 133 as a scapegoat, dismissing him in order to take on the post 
of Commander in Chief of the Army himself. 134 

In 1942, Hitler had the Reichstag empower him to dismiss any judge 
he chose and take on the function of Supreme Judge (Oberster 
Gerichtsherr). When the Commander of the Replacement Army 
[Ersatzheer) , Friedrich Fromm, 135 adopted an ambivalent attitude on July 
20, 1944, Hitler placed him under arrest and appointed in his stead the 
loyal Reichsfuhrer SS, Himmler. 136 

Hitler's thirst for power knew no bounds, and he was continually on 
his guard against those who refused to recognize his absolute supremacy. 
His control was so complete that there is little or no doubt that 
Germany could not have liberated itself from this dictatorship during 
Hitler's lifetime. 

Had the dictator not ultimately become the victim of his own 
foreign policies, neither the people, the churches, the Armed Forces, nor 
the National Socialist Party would ever have succeeded in removing him 
from his seat of power. 

After his death, Hitler's empire would have collapsed not unlike that 
of Alexander the Great. For all his talk of the future Fiihrerstaat, racial 
selectivity, etc., he naturally could not bring himself to train or even 
name a genuine successor, fearing that he might thereby risk sacrificing 
some— no matter how small— part of his power. 



49 



Introduction 



Foreign Policy 

When Hitler turned thirty in 1919, he already had a clear picture of 
his foreign policy plans and refused to the end to relinquish or revise 
these aims. He had set forth his concepts in Mein Kampf for all time: 137 

The demand for a reestablishment of the 1914 borders is a political 
absurdity. The borders of 1914 mean nothing at all for the future of the German 
nation. 

In face of this, we National Socialists must keep an unshakable hold on our 
political aims, namely of securing the land and soil rightfully belonging to the 
German Volk on this earth. And this action is the only one which, before God 
and our German posterity, would allow an investment of blood to appear 
justified. 

In this context, I must attack most sharply those volkisch penpushers who 
pretend to perceive in such an acquisition of soil a "violation of sacred human 
rights." 

Thus we National Socialists are intentionally closing the chapter on the 
direction which foreign policy took in our pre-war period. We are taking up 
where we broke off six centuries ago. We are stopping the endless stream of 
Germans moving to the south and west of Europe and setting our sights on the 
land in the east. 

Hitler's plans could hardly have been fixed more clearly, but the 
pseudo-historical deliberations in which they were embedded reveal the 
naivete characteristic of his foreign policy as a whole. 

Except in respect to the Volkerwanderung, the myth of an "endless 
stream of Germans moving to the south" has no basis in fact. The only — 
admittedly meager — support for the idea of German expansion to the 
west lies in Bismarck's campaign of 1870-71 and the annexation of 
Alsace-Lorraine. It would be more correct to speak of a French drive 
towards the east and to the Rhine. 

In contrast, the German drive to the east was indeed a reality which 
had not slumbered in the six hundred years Hitler so flippantly 

50 



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ims 



dismissed. The conquests of the Teutonic Order marked the beginning 
of an Ostpolitik consistent with that of the Hohenzollerns and the 
Habsburgs which persisted up to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1918. 

But what did Hitler care about the facts of history? He was 
determined to realize his foreign policy goals at any price. The only 
debatable question was whether Germany's military potential sufficed 
to execute his expansionist plans, and how the West would react to his 
crusades. In regard to the latter point, Hitler had long devised a solution. 
"In Europe there will be only two allies for Germany in the foreseeable 
future: England and Italy," he had predicted in Mein Kampf. liS 

Hitler's foreign and military policies actually did have a common 
denominator, for they were all ultimately aimed at the establishment of 
a new German continental imperium stretching to include the entirety 
of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union all the way to the Ural 
Mountains. And to put this plan into effect, he needed alliances with 
Great Britain and Italy, followed by war with the Soviet Union. This 
was a program of positively Napoleonic dimensions, and the attempt to 
translate it into action ended no differently than the Corsican's plans 
had 130 years before. 

It seems difficult to comprehend why Hitler should have believed 
his goal for German hegemony in Europe was anything but foolhardy 
illusion so shortly after William II had failed with his claim for world 
supremacy and in his colonial and naval policies. World War I had 
conclusively shown that the world was not willing to tolerate 
expansionist policies on the part of Germany or Austria, not even in the 
Balkans. It had further established that Germany's military power fell 
drastically short of being able to match the united forces of the Western 
Powers. However, German statesmen — and first and foremost Hitler — 
turned a deaf ear to these so obvious lessons of the First World War. 

The discussion on unbewdltigte Vergangenheit which has been 
carried on in West Germany for some time deals with the question of 
failing to come to terms with the past, whereby, the "past" in this 
context refers to the Third Reich and the catastrophe of 1945. However, 
this term might apply more accurately to the German attitude between 
the two World Wars. The majority of the German population, above all 
the influential bourgeoisie, was taken completely by surprise at the 
defeat of 1918 and was unable to fathom that the German Army, touted 
for decades as invincible, could have been forced to surrender. 

The statesmen and generals responsible did their utmost to hide the 
real reasons behind the military catastrophe from the German people. 

51 



Introduction 

A legend was called to life blaming the defeat on a "stab in the back of 
the German Army." 

On the other hand, the measures taken by the Allies after 1918 were 
neither wise nor justified. Independent of the perspective one takes, they 
were half-measures at best, and bore the seed of new conflicts. The ill- 
chosen borders to Germany's east are a case in point, for while they 
were not actually the immediate cause for the outbreak of war in 1939, 
they did constitute a major factor. Other problematic points included 
the military and economic clauses in the Treaty of Versailles and the 
occupation of the Rhineland. An added burden was the attitude of 
certain Western circles which indirectly promoted the reactionary 
parties in Germany for their own gain while obstructing the work of the 
genuinely pacifist governments of the Weimar Republic. 

In the minds of many Germans, Hitler among them, there was no 
doubt that the catastrophe of 1918 was a result not of any numerical or 
technical supremacy on the part of the Allies, but of treason in their 
own ranks. 

Hitler spoke of the "laurel wreath" which had been "craftily 
snatched from the German soldier in 1918" 139 and became a spokesman 
for the unity theory:" 140 

As long as the German Volk was unified in history, it has never been 
vanquished. It was only the disunity of the year 1918 which led to the collapse. 

Hitler honestly believed that the German front had been broken 
also by virtue of the enemy propaganda dropped behind the lines. He 
put no stock in the basic lesson which the history of war has taught to 
all peoples: the military resources constitute the single crucial factor, and 
they depend in turn upon the number and quality of the available 
troops, upon the capacity for producing arms and upon the store of 
foodstuffs. Exhortations to hold out and even new weaponry can, at 
best, prolong a war, but they cannot influence its outcome. 

Hitler also chose to ignore another basic insight which has been 
reinforced by the events of history: propaganda is effective only with 
one's own people or vis-a-vis dependent or inferior states; it is powerless 
in the face of equally strong or superior peoples. 

The foreign policy concepts Hitler adopted in 1919 were 
inconsistent with reality in respect to both Great Britain and the Soviet 
Union. And they were his inevitable ruin: his view of history was 
distorted and he refused to correct it. 

He once claimed: 141 

52 



Political Ai 



ims 



There is no excuse before history for an error; no excuse, for instance, to the 
effect that one explains afterwards: I didn't notice that or I didn't take it 
seriously. 

These words were Hitler's self-pronounced death sentence: 
persisting in his erroneous assumptions of 1919 could never change 
reality, and the hard facts caught up with him in the end. 

In terms of his preconceived notions of foreign policy, an alliance 
between Germany and Italy seemed most feasible. Such a tie could be 
reinforced by drawing parallels in history — not only the alliance which 
Bismarck had entered into with Cavour's young Italy, but also the close 
relations between Italy and Germany during the Holy Roman Empire. 
However, Hitler was less interested in historical precedents than in the 
simple fact that the manifestation of Fascism and the phenomenon of 
Mussolini presented themselves as sufficient grounds for an alliance. 

In contrast, Hitler's completely unrealistic fantasy of a possible 
Anglo-German alliance was void of any basis in fact or history. The 
alliances which had been established in the past — for instance, that 
between Great Britain and the House of Habsburg during the War of 
the Spanish Succession, or that between Britain and Prussia during the 
Seven Years' War— had been formed not as the basis for a new German 
expansionist drive, but for the sole purpose of defeating France. 

In Hitler's opinion, the Hohenzollerns would have been well-advised 
to have formed an alliance between imperial Germany and Great 
Britain, using the latter as protection to the rear for conquering new 
Lebensraum in the Soviet Union. He wrote in Mein Kampf: 142 

If one's goal were more land in Europe, this could only be accomplished, 
broadly speaking, at Russia's expense, meaning that the new Reich [of 1871] 
would once again join the march on the road of the Teutonic Knights of old, to 
gain by the German sword sod for the German plough and daily bread for the 
nation. 

For this kind of policy there could be but one ally in Europe: England. 

These words suffice to illustrate that the German dictator — as the 
majority of his countrymen — had no understanding of the British 
mentality, British history or British statecraft. What did impress him 
were the British wars and concentration camps, for Hitler conceived of 
power purely as brute force. In contrast to his ideas, British statecraft 
propagated a healthy balance: in times of peace, it instilled in the 
populations of those countries dominated by Britain a sense of 
individual satisfaction, while during wartime it awakened the will to 
demonstrate undivided solidarity with the mother country. 

53 



Introduction 

As a consequence of World War I, Hitler harbored a strong feeling 
of hatred for France and viewed it as dependent upon Great Britain. 
Were Britain to become a German ally, France would be checkmated in 
any case. 

In Mein KampfHitler mentioned the United States only seldom and 
in passing. He was nevertheless aware that the United States was closely 
allied with Britain and reasoned that, were he to win over the latter, he 
would simultaneously win over its closest ally. The converse sequence, 
i.e. that war with England would mean war with the United States, ap- 
parently did not occur to him. So great was his obsession with the idea 
of an Anglo-German alliance that he strictly ruled out the possibility of 
war with Britain. 

There was absolutely no historical basis— and there were no logical 
arguments whatsoever— for the assumption that Britain would support 
or even tolerate a German drive against the Soviet Union; it was purely 
a figment of Hitler's imagination. But it was a theory he did not hesitate 
to propound over and over again for the sake of his listeners and, above 
all, himself. 

Hitler perceived himself as the great simplifier and once stated: "Our 
problems seemed complicated ... But I simplified the problems and 
reduced them to the lowest common denominator." 143 

Applied to his foreign policy, this meant that he simply projected 
concepts of domestic German policy onto international relations, 
believing to have thus untied the Gordian knot. The Soviets, for 
instance, he equated with the "primitive" German Communists, holding 
that they could be quashed with brute force. 

The British he placed in the same pot with the backward German 
Nationalists: once successful, they had now become incapable of rousing 
themselves to any firm stand. In Hitler's ill-considered opinion, they 
were best brought into submission— or out of the way— by being either 
reminded of their common "Germanic-Anglo-Saxon" past" instilled 
with fear of the Bolshevist threat, or simply left to their own frivolous 
devices. It was not worth the trouble to fight them, for they would 
ultimately fold on their own. In light of these views, it is not surprising 
that Hitler could boldly state, "I do not doubt for a second that we will 
procure our vital rights outside the country in exactly the same way as 
we were able to lead it onwards within." 144 

Even during the Second World War, he boasted, "I am firmly 
convinced that this [external] battle will end not a whit differently from 
the battle I once waged internally!" 145 

54 



Political Ai 



ims 



From their very beginnings, Hitler's attempts to convert his idee fixe 
of an alliance between Germany and Great Britain were nothing but 
grotesque. True to his theory of identical procedures in his "struggles" 
at home and abroad, he accorded the British the same treatment as he 
had the German Nationalists in the past, comparing them with the 
"Hugenbergers." 146 

When Chamberlain visited Germany three times in 1938, Hitler 
sincerely believed he was meeting with the equivalent of a German 
Nationalist privy councillor. 

Speaking to a gathering of German generals, he stated, "These 
insignificant worms, I came to know them in Munich." 147 And at a 
public rally in 1942, he pronounced, "The English have simply been 
ossifying for too long." 148 

Hitler made a habit of snubbing British statesmen, and his offers to 
form an alliance were the height of insult. He would slap them in the 
face, as Francois-Poncet once aptly noted, 149 and at the same time make 
a pretense of offering them his hand in friendship. 

Hitler was puzzled over England's manifest lack of interest in 
becoming a part of the German Gleichschaltung. Moreover, they 
surprisingly declined to accept his "generous offer" (grofiziigiges Angebot) 
to protect the British Empire with his very own divisions. Addressing a 
visitor from Sweden in 1939, he demanded: "Herr Dahlerus, you know 
England so well, can you give me any reason for my perpetual failure to 
come to an agreement with her?" 150 

While Hitler's consternation over such matters by no means moved 
him to reconsider his rigid preconceptions, Great Britain's declaration 
of war on September 3, 1939, did jar him into speechless shock for 
several minutes, according to reports of the interpreter Paul Schmidt. 151 
Britain's unexpected step struck a deathly blow to the very roots of his 
theories on foreign policy and, as such, would have prompted any 
normal-thinking statesman to step down immediately — at the very least. 
It had certainly not been Hitler's intention to wage war with England; 
his primary interest lay merely in conducting a small-scale conquest of 
Poland. He was completely taken aback when Great Britain actually 
sounded the call to arms. 

However, a few hours later he had regained his composure— and his 
hold on the view that an alliance with England continued to be a 
possibility. During the entire course of the war, he thus staunchly 
refused to take any vigorous action against Britain which might 
unnecessarily irritate his prospective future ally. 

55 



Introduction 

He upheld the belief that he need only pursue his other goals, above 
all the conquest of the Soviet Union, to bring the British to their knees 
and to the realization that Hitler was the only ruler in the world to 
whom they should pay homage — just as Hugenberg, von Papen and von 
Hindenburg had done by allowing themselves to be persuaded that 
Hitler was Germany's savior. 

If all else failed, he would only have to conjure up the bogy of 
Bolshevism once again — as he had at home — to bring his reactionary 
opponents in the West into line. 

The attack on the Soviet Union which Hitler launched midway 
during the war with England originated not only in his old and 
cherished hope of one day taking over this enormous territory in the 
East, but also in the irrational hope that the western world would look 
up to him as its champion in the fight against Bolshevism. 

The German newspapers from June 23, 1941 created the impression 
that the entire world, including the United States, warmly welcomed 
Germany's treatment of the Soviet Union, and that Britain was 
certainly no exception. Little did the German dictator suspect that the 
British welcomed a much different aspect of Germany's endeavors in the 
East. It was not difficult for them to surmise how much bloodletting 
this foray would cost the Germans. Even if Hitler were to succeed in 
conquering the Soviet Union, he would be so weakened as to make it 
easier for the Western Powers to defeat him in return. 

Hitler's hope of overtaking the Soviet Union with a single sweep 
revealed itself to be a tragic fallacy. His concept of the primitive 
Russians who were most easily crushed by brute force— just like their 
supposed counterparts, the German Communists— proved a glaring 
underestimation. What had been demonstrated in the aftermath of the 
French Revolution once more became apparent: changes in the world 
outlook of a regime have no influence upon the willingness of a 
country's populace to protect itself and its country. Bolshevist Russia 
defended itself against Hitler's armies just as bitterly as the Czarist 
regimes had withstood the invasions of Charles XII and Napoleon I. 
Even the brutal tactics Hitler demanded of the German Wehrmacht 
were to no avail in accomplishing his goals of capturing Leningrad, 
Moscow and Stalingrad and forcing the Russian Army to capitulate. 

The course of the war ran contrary to Hitler's prophecies in every 
way and in respect to Germany's friends as well as foes. He had once 
ridiculed the policy of the German Empire vis-a-vis its allies, stating: 152 

56 



Political Aims 

At that time, a few semblances of states grown old and impotent were 
drummed together and the attempt was made, using this junk destined for 
destruction, to show a bold front to an enterprising world coalition. 

But the allies he mobilized during World War II did not differ 
markedly from these "semblances of states": the Hungarians as well as 
the Finns to whom they were related; the Croatians and the Bulgarians; 
the Romanians, the Italians, and ultimately the Japanese. Hitler was not 
even capable of persuading his allies to regard all of Germany's enemies 
as their own foes as well. 153 

It became evident that German power politics made an impression 
only upon the weak Balkan peoples and, to a limited degree, upon Italy. 
There it seemed that Hitler's theories on forming alliances might well 
prove true. Initially, Mussolini had shown extreme reserve in response 
to Hitler's attempts to curry his favor. However, his reserve thawed 
when, during the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, he unwillingly became 
dependent upon Germany and was increasingly forced to be an audience 
to Hitler's torrent of words. Being an impulsive Italian, the Duce was 
impressed by the disciplined conduct of the German military and party 
organizations. So enthused was he by the German goosestep at his visit 
to Munich and Berlin in 1937 that he immediately introduced it as the 
"Passo Romano" in his own country. Mussolini — a loquacious man of 
his own accord — was so fascinated by Hitler's oratorical talent that he 
was soon converted to a patient and interested listener. Given sober 
consideration back in Italy, some of the German ruler's ideas were less 
persuasive, and Mussolini only reluctantly agreed to the Italo-German 
military alliance of May 22, 1939, known as the Pact of Steel. 

Hitler's first disappointment dawned only a few months later: in 
violation of its obligations as laid down in the Pact, Italy refused to side 
with Germany when war broke out, insisting on remaining neutral. 
When it did enter the war in 1940, it soon became evident that this had 
more negative than positive consequences for Germany. After three 
years of warfare, Italy collapsed in 1943 and Fascism disappeared 
without a trace. Mussolini was happy to have escaped with his life, but 
Hitler had the Italian leader brought to Germany in order to preserve 
the appearance of an intact alliance. 

Hitler's irrational preconceptions on foreign policy had been proven 
false across the board, from the alleged Jewish world government and 
the potential for an alliance with Great Britain and Italy, to his plans for 
easy conquest and annihilation of the Soviet Union. However, he 
refused to acknowledge defeat until the foreign enemies he himself had 

57 



Introduction 

made had occupied nearly his entire Reich and were literally knocking 
at the door of the Reich Chancellory. It was not Hitler's prophecythat 
his warfare abroad would end "not a whit differently" from his domestic 
struggle— but Churchill's predictions that came to pass: 154 

And when the final signal is given, the whole circle of avenging nations will 
hurl themselves upon the foe and batter out the life of the cruellest tyranny 
which has ever sought to bar the progress of mankind. 

It would be wrong to claim that Hitler's war and foreign policy goals 
met with unanimous approval and support within the Party, the State and 
the Army. Even the staunchest chauvinists and militarists strove for a 
reestablishment of the borders of 1914 and, at the utmost and if 
circumstances were conducive, the annexation of the coal-mining areas of 
Brie, the Baltic States and the Ukraine. The German people were, for the 
most part, extremely cautious and skeptical of any measures which could 
lead to war, for the shock of World War I was still too vivid. 

Hitler, well aware of this, took care in his speeches not to state his 
military objectives in any certain terms, and sought instead to blur and 
disguise his intentions. Even as late as 1939-1940, he circumvented the 
term "war" in official legislation and directives, preferring to speak in 
euphemisms, citing for instance a "special task force" (besonderer 
Einsatz), police actions, etc. 

To the Germans who attempted to warn Hitler of the unavoidable 
consequences of his fateful foreign policy, he pointed out that he had 
attained his domestic goals despite all predictions and warnings to the 
contrary and would thus similarly prove right with his ideas on this 
external struggle, a mere counterpart to his internal triumph. Speaking 
publicly in 1937, he had declared: 155 

I have no desire to concern myself with those who know only the one well- 
worn objection to all major decisions: "It won't work." [ — ] I do not need to 
assure you that a man who has succeeded in rising from an unknown soldier of 
the World War to the leader of the nation will also succeed in solving any 
problems to come. May no man doubt my determination to put plans once 
conceived into action, no matter how. 

By 1938-1939 and, at the latest, with the occupation of the rest of 
Czechoslovakia, it had become apparent even to the uninitiated where 
Hitler's course was headed. But it was already too late for any legal 
action; his position within Germany had become unassailable. In 1933, 
he had sworn never to relinquish control of German government during 
his lifetime. 156 Before switching what he called his "train of govern- 

58 



Political Ai 



ims 



ment" onto the steeply declining track of war, he had meticulously 
dismantled every brake which could have brought it to an emergency 
halt. Hence with an ever-increasing tempo Hitler raced onward toward 
destruction and ruin. A few of the passengers attempted to leap to 
safety, but few succeeded. The first to abandon the train was Fritz 
Thyssen; 157 another was Rudolf Hess. 

The extent of the catastrophe could have been checked had one of 
the men riding the "train of government" possessed the courage to stand 
up to the mad engineer face to face, take over the helm and turn the 
course of the train and the tide of events. 

But there was no such man to be found in Germany. 



59 



Introduction 



The Methodology of Hitler's Oratory 

Even prior to World War 1, Hitler had cherished hopes of appearing 
on the public stage as an orator. The possibility of exercising power by 
means of the spoken word always held a strong fascination for him. 

Reinhold Hanisch, one of Hitler's acquaintances from the Vienna 
hostel for the homeless, reports: 158 

One evening, Hitler happened to go to a movie theater — a rare occasion — in 
which Kellermann's Tunnel 159 was being shown. There is a public speaker in the 
film who throws the working masses into turmoil with his speeches. Hitler was 
beside himself. The impression was so strong that he spoke of nothing except the 
power of oratory for days. 

It was not the film alone which impressed Hitler, but also the novel 
upon which it was based. Apparently he bought it shortly thereafter. A 
great part of the vocabulary Hitler later built into his own speeches was 
doubtless drawn from this source. 

The language Kellermann used to describe events of fantastic import 
and persons of extraordinary magnetism left its mark, above all the bold 
superlatives and the ultimate flourish, "of all time," which grew to 
become one of the dictator's favorite expressions. 160 The actors in 
Kellermann's story captivated Hitler's attention as much as the rhetoric. 
Mac Allan, the main character in the book, is a small-time engineer, able 
to carry through the idea for building a tunnel— a plan initially ridiculed 
as folly. He invents an amazingly strong steel drill and, bursting with 
energy, devotes himself to the task of burrowing a tunnel under the 
Atlantic. His oratorical genius enables him to win over the giants of 
finance, convince reluctant industrial magnates, and instill in the 
construction workers the belief that the tunnel rightfully belongs to the 
people; he is able to overcome every crisis by his circumspect action in 
emergencies and succeeds in completing the "gigantic" project within 
twenty-five years' time. 

This was the kind of hero Hitler longed to be. In his case, the power 
of oral persuasion would not be lacking if similarly "gigantic" projects 
could be found. 

60 



The Methodology of Hitler's Oratory 

S. Woolf, who came from a lower-class background but memorized 
an enormous number of details and had them constantly at his 
fingertips, was another character in the story who certainly also 
commanded Hitler's admiration, even though he was a Jew. 

In any case, Hitler began training his memory and learning facts by 
rote with which he later impressed technical and military experts. 
Contempt for money and mistrust of the militia, later characteristic of 
Hitler's attitude, are also reflected in the themes of Kellermann's novel. 
When Hitler launched his political career in 1919, there appeared to be 
little chance that he would ever achieve the political power to which he 
aspired. He had neither assets nor any schooling to speak of; he could 
claim neither influential friends nor membership in any powerful 
organizations within a party or a given social class. Nonetheless, he had 
two reasons to believe himself capable of mounting the steep ladder to 
political success. One reason lay in the chaotic circumstances gripping 
Germany in the wake of its total defeat in World War I and in the 
transition which had taken place in the system of government after 
1918. Only when chaos reigned both at home and abroad were the 
people perhaps sufficiently receptive to the ravings of an unknown 
agitator. Astute in his estimation of the masses, Hitler did everything— 
in the years preceding his accession to power— to prevent calm from 
setting in. He supported every action at home designed to hinder the 
respective government, while at the same time endeavoring to thwart 
any stabilization abroad. The second asset Hitler intended to exploit in 
his bid for power was his extraordinary talent for public speaking. Well 
he knew how dangerous a weapon demagogical speech could be in times 
of turbulence; in Mein Kampf, he had elaborated upon this theme in 



However, the power which has always started the great religious and 
political avalanches in history has been, from time immemorial, none but the 
magic power of the spoken word. 

Above all the broad masses of a people have always been subject to the force 
of oratory. And all great movements are national movements, are volcanic 
eruptions of human passion and inner emotions, aroused either by the cruel 
goddess of need or by the torch of the spoken word hurled into the masses, and 
not soda-sweet outpourings of aestheticizing literatteurs and drawing-room 
heroes. 

A change in a people's fortune can be prompted only by a storm of burning 
passion, but he alone can arouse such passion who harbors it within him. This 
passion alone can bestow upon him whom it has chosen the words which, like 
the blows of a hammer, are capable of opening the gates to a people's heart. 

61 



Introduction 

Hitler ridiculed the "helpless stammerings of someone like 
Bethmann-Hollweg" 162 and wrote: 163 

The oratory of a statesman to his people is not something I judge by the 
impression it leaves upon a university professor, but rather by the effect it has 
on the people. 

Hitler did succeed in proving, in his domestic climb to power, that 
a gifted orator can indeed harness the support of a people muddled by 
times of confusion and chaos. However, events have also shown that the 
weapon of oratory can become blunted or useless when brandished in 
foreign politics against an equally strong or superior opponent. Indeed, 
it can even be turned against the aggressor. 

Hitler admired the speeches of Anglo-Saxon statesmen during World 
War I, above all those of Lloyd George, rating them as "psychological 
masterpieces for influencing the soul of the masses," 164 and completely 
overlooking the military and political power from which these speeches 
drew their force. 

Similarly, Hitler was firmly convinced that the Western Powers had 
conquered the German Army in 1918 not by numerical superiority and 
better weaponry, but with handbills and other types of propaganda. He 
also held the opinion that Wilson had won international recognition 
primarily for the elegant wording of his Fourteen Points. In reality, the 
united forces of the Western Powers stood behind this program, and 
without them, even a man like Wilson — whom Hitler dismissed as a 
"would-be world savior" 165 — was powerless. 

When Hitler attempted to repeat the success of his domestic oratory 
on the stage of foreign politics after taking power, it soon became 
evident that he was every bit as ineffectual with his outpourings as 
Bethmann-Hollweg had been with his "helpless stammerings." 

However, nothing could have been further from Hitler's thoughts in 
1919 at his first appearance at a public gathering in the small 
Hofbrauhauskeller in Munich, where he was exhilarated by the impact 
of his oratory. He describes this, his first experience as a demagogue, in 
Mein Kampf: lbb 

What I had before simply sensed inside, without really knowing it, was now 
proven by reality: I could speak! After thirty minutes, the people in the small 
room were electrified, and the enthusiasm was first expressed in the fact that my 
appeal to the willingness of those present to make a sacrifice resulted in a 
donation of three hundred marks. [ — ] 

However, the success of this first major gathering was also significant in 
another way. During my many years of military service, I had become acquaint- 

62 



The Methodology of Hitler's Oratory 

ed with a great number of loyal comrades who now gradually began to join the 
Movement due to my persuasion. They were all energetic young men, 
accustomed to discipline and raised, throughout their service, on the principle: 
nothing is impossible, and if there is a will, there is always a way. 167 — 

Thus Hitler set upon the path of rhetorical rabble-rousing, with 
varying degrees of success depending upon the situation. If times were 
bad, he spoke to full houses; if matters were stabilizing, his eloquence 
was powerless to shake the masses out of their complacency. Trusting 
nonetheless in his luck, Hitler initially put his powers of oratory to the 
test not in front of mass audiences, but before small, select and 
influential circles and organizations. On January 30, 1933, he achieved 
his goal and became Reich Chancellor. 

During the fourteen years he strove for political power at home, he 
had only once relied upon means other than his persuasive public 
speaking. Intending to repeat the success of the Fascist "March on 
Rome," he launched his own German variation on November 8, 1923. 
While he was initially able to win over those holding power in Munich 
at the time — General State Commissar Gustav von Kahr as well as the 
officers responsible for the Reichswehr and police — as soon as he turned 
his attention to other affairs and relaxed his hold upon them, they began 
to waver, released from the spellbinding power of his oratory, and 
ultimately resumed their responsibilities to the lawful government in 
Berlin. Hitler had learned a lesson he would never forget: German 
generals were not revolutionaries in any sense of the word. They 
preferred, as the Kapp Putsch had also illustrated, 168 to adhere to the 
lawful regime — even if they detested it — rather than follow a 
revolutionary, even if the latter's goals coincided with their own. In 
later years, after he had become Supreme Commander of the Armed 
Forces, Hitler exploited these tenets of the German military for his own 
purposes, which cost German soldiery its reputation and was to take 
many a German general to the gallows after the lost war. 

Hitler subtly tuned his speeches to suit the audience he was 
addressing. Although his remarks rarely varied in content, he enjoyed 
giving them a local flavor and expressing them in an idiom peculiar to 
his listeners. 

When speaking before intellectuals, professors or university 
students, for instance, he employed the convoluted and abstract style en 
vogue in such circles. 

In many of his speeches, he made extensive use of uncommon words 
and phrases of Latin and Greek origin, and he did in fact use them 

63 



Introduction 

correctly. Apparently he believed they sounded impressive and 
established a sense of familiarity with experts present in the audience. 
His command of difficult forms of address and ceremonial titles was as 
perfect as that of a diplomatic chef de protocol. 

In the years 1932 and 1933, when considering it useful, Hitler 
pronounced the initial "st" separately as "s" and "t" as though he were 
from Hanover or Hamburg and had never heard of the German sound 
shift. His use of set phrases and anomalies was calculated to favorably 
impress Northern German listeners, and it apparently did not miss its 
mark. When he addressed Southern Germans, there was no need for 
such artifice for he usually spoke an idiom resembling to Bavarian 
German. Adolf Wagner, Gauleiter in Munich, spoke with a similar 
intonation and was hence regularly appointed to read Hitler's opening 
address at the Nuremberg Party Congresses, while Hitler himself sat 
behind the lectern among the high-ranking party functionaries and 
listened to his speaking "double." 

Hitler's natural voice was rather highpitched. Particularly when he 
commenced a speech, he forced his voice into a lower range to make it 
sound more resounding and masculine. In other situations he 
intentionally allowed his voice to become shrill and overstrained for 
dramatic effect. He even took the opportunity of dictating his speeches 
to rehearse the accompanying accents at great volume, and occasionally 
his voice carried throughout the building. Uninitiated persons within 
earshot were caught by surprise and assumed he was admonishing his 
assistants. 

This constant modulation naturally took its toll on his vocal cords, 
and in 1935 he had to undergo surgery. 169 Following the operation, 
performed by Professor Dr. von Eicken, Hitler feared for some time 
that he might lose his voice, but the ailment proved temporary and his 
fears groundless. 

In moments of excitation, Hitler's voice often took on a threatening, 
subdued tone; he rolled his "r's" harshly and punctuated his speech with 
idiosyncratic pronunciations. His intonation became monotone, his 
phrasing a series of volleys. This manner of speaking was particularly 
pronounced when Hitler extolled outstanding feats of National 
Socialism, Germany's far superior weaponry and similar supposed 
accomplishments, i.e. when he spoke on martial subjects or indulged in 
his penchant for megalomania. Then he appeared in an autosuggestive, 
trancelike state — regardless of whether he was delivering a public address 
or speaking to an audience of one. 

64 



The Methodology of Hitler's Oratory 

Certain figures of speech peculiar to Hitler have given rise to the 
claim that he spoke incorrect and distorted German. This is, however, 
an unfounded allegation, for the phrases in question belong to the 
Austrian idiom which Northern Germans in particular are likely to find 
alien. 170 Had he, in fact, consistently spoken bad German, neither the 
German industrial magnates, the German diplomats nor the German 
generals, etc. would have been so taken by his oratory. There is no 
doubt that his rhetoric and his command of even the finer nuances of 
the German language were exceptional. 

To determine the specific methodology used in each speech, Hitler 
first considered the external parameters of the situation: the time, the 
place, the temperature of the hall, etc. In Mein Kampf, 171 he explains how 
significant, for instance, the time of day can be in terms of a speech's 
impact. He felt that it was psychologically less advantageous to speak in 
the morning than in the late afternoon or evening when the mental 
resistance of his listeners had ebbed. The "twilight of the Catholic 
churches," the "mysterious magic of the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth," and 
similar local settings were more conducive, he found, to manipulating 
the masses. 

He viewed oratory as "a wrestling match between two diametrically 
opposed forces," 172 and concluded: 

The outstanding oratorical art of a commanding Messianic figure will more 
easily succeed in winning over for a new cause people whose powers of 
resistance have already been weakened in the most natural way — than those who 
are still in full possession of their spiritual and mental resilience. 

It was the calculated aim of each of his major speeches to break this 
"resilience" in his audience. The first part of his usual 90-to-120-minute 
speeches— some lasted up to several hours— was dedicated to long- 
winded narrative abounding with endless historical or 
pseudophilosophical deliberations designed to tire his listeners and, like 
hypnosis, break down their mental resistance. When they had become 
dulled and lethargic, he bombarded them in the second half of his speech 
with demagogical phrases, nationalist slogans and the like in order to 
"electrify" them, goading them on to ever more thunderous applause 
and indiscriminating mass response. 

In his "party narrative," 173 the initial phase of each of his longer 
speeches, Hitler literally commenced at Genesis, Chapter 1, Verse 1, 
tracing the annals of the Party from its inception in 1919 through the 

65 



Introduction 

struggles of its early years and up into the present in minute detail and 
including every tangent of its triumphs as a party and a force in the 
nation to be reckoned with. 

In using this method of captivating the attention of his audience, 
Hitler once again made use of a custom he had borrowed from the 
Catholic Church, where the sermon is preceded by a lengthy reading 
from the Bible. In his opinion, the stereotypical repetition of well- 
known texts transported his listeners into a mild state of trance, making 
them more receptive to new information to follow. Hitler spoke slowly 
and in measured words in this first part of his speeches, almost 
hesitantly and ponderously, not unlike a lecturing professor. Then, 
when he moved into the second part, the tempo of his speech took on 
increasing speed while he pushed the pitch of his voice to its limit. 

Even the most agitated theatrical gestures and fervent dramatic 
phrases appearing to burst forth spontaneously were, more often than 
not, carefully cultivated and practiced techniques. Both Hitler's valet, 
Heinz Linge, and his friend and photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann, 
witnessed the dress rehearsals for such performances, 174 in which Hitler 
stood before a mirror reflecting a full-length image and recited the 
speech sentence by sentence, all the while observing his reflection. He 
studied his every movement, his every facial expression. He repeated the 
sentences and gestures until he was satisfied with his performance. 
Occasionally he turned to his friends and asked, "Am I good, 
Hoffmann?" or "Does it ring true, Linge? Do you think I can step before 
the crowd now?" 

In view of such sober speculation and calculated technique, Hitler's 
speeches might be judged to have been nothing other than cheap 
comedy— laughable and grotesque charades. But this would neither serve 
to explain their enormous impact and almost magical effect nor do 
justice to the facts. Hitler was a natural actor, i.e. he actually became the 
role he wished to act. In fact, he came to believe what he said, or at least 
created that impression upon Germans and, in part, upon foreigners— 
not unlike a great character actor capable of evoking tears of sadness or 
putting the fear of God into his audience. 

Hitler was actually capable of working himself up into a state of 
intense agitation which left him completely exhausted. His rhetorical 
talent far surpassed that of any other National Socialist party leader. Even 
Goebbels, whose role in the Third Reich is greatly overestimated today 
both in Germany and abroad, did not come near rivalling Hitler's talent 

66 



The Methodology of Hitler's Oratory 

as an orator. Goebbels claimed of himself that he was capable of "playing 
on the psyche of the people as if it were a piano," 175 but in reality the 
sparks his speeches ignited never grew into any real flame. Although he 
was able to arouse a non-critical crowd, he did not understand the art of 
calling forth real enthusiasm. Goebbels was a successful propagandist 
only when he received his directives from Hitler or was enthralled by 
his Fiihrer's ideas. The bulk of the people recognized that Goebbels' 
own arguments were often mere figures of speech, doubtless presented 
with a certain amount of pathos but flawed by a lack of conviction on 
his part. 

This was definitely not true of Hitler. His charismatic personality 
and oratory struck a genuine resonance within the German people. In 
the initial years of his rule, his speeches met with enthusiastic applause, 
and later, when his theatrical ravings, unrestrained outbursts of temper 
and loud-mouthing invective became disagreeable even to the 
indiscriminating masses, it was fear of the demon that made even these 
specimens of histrionic oratory outwardly successful. The English 
journalist Ward Price early recognized Hitler as the first German 
"demagogue since Luther." 176 

While Hitler perceived of oratory as a "wrestling match," he did 
ensure that his was the better position from the onset. True discussion 
and debate were ruled out, both in personal conversation and in the 
setting of a public meeting. He could not stand criticism, he once 
exclaimed, 177 and the interjections of hecklers were a thing he abhorred. 
As he himself admitted, 178 the SA, his Sturmabteilung, originally served 
the sole function of doling out blows to hecklers and forcibly evicting 
anyone disrupting Hitler's performance. Only when absolute silence 
reigned could he exert his spellbinding power upon his audience. 

Only on one occasion did Hitler take part in a debate in the 
Reichstag — on March 23, 1933. 179 Then, too, he called out to the Social 
Democratic deputies who interjected their comments (as was common 
parliamentary practice): "Would you please let me finish, I didn't 
interrupt you, either!" The impromptu speech Hitler made on this 
occasion convinced doubters that he did in fact compose his own 
speeches and did not require a prompter. When the Social Democrat 
Wels delivered his unexpected declamation against the Enabling Act, 
Hitler made a few notes on a piece of paper and then dismissed Wels and 
his arguments so thoroughly as to move even the skeptical Privy 
Councillor von Hugenberg to avid enthusiasm. 

Hitler can be viewed in many ways, but certainly not as a bad speaker 
or one who needed an intellectual crutch to formulate well thought-out 

67 



Introduction 

speeches. He even declined using the official drafts of government 
speeches drawn up by his staff of which several are on file at the Federal 
Archives in Koblenz, 180 at the most drawing from statistical material 
compiled in them. Schacht's remark that Hitler had never uttered a rash 
or ill-considered word and had "never made a mistake or a slip of the 
tongue," 181 may apply to many private discussions, but not to his 
speeches as a whole. 

Occasionally, Hitler became carried away by the dramatic torrent of 
his own rhetoric and later regretted certain language as having been too 
strong. Hence when he became Chancellor, he insisted upon checking all 
speeches before they were published, and he modified or deleted such 
wording. However, this was only infrequently the case. In general terms, 
the reprints of his speeches in the Volkischer Beobachter" 1S2 and the reports 
of the official German news agency (Deutsches Nachrichtenbtiro, DNB) 
constituted verbatim accounts of what he had said. This also applies, with 
few exceptions, to the special editions of certain speeches published (in 
pamphlet form) at a later date by the NSDAP's official party publishing 
house, Franz Eher Nachf., in Munich. 

During World War II, Hitler doubtless would gladly have withdrawn 
or erased certain of his past statements and slogans. To cite a case in point, 
posters containing a "Proclamation to the Soldiers on the Eastern Front" 
issued on October 2, 1941 183 had to be taken down by special commandos 
a few weeks later. The text had announced the imminent collapse of the 
Soviet Union, and every soldier at the German eastern front was acutely 
aware of how premature this announcement was. 

It was characteristic of Hitler to speak only if he had real or alleged 
triumphs of which to boast. In the wake of defeats or after having 
initiated measures capable of arousing public antipathy, he shrouded 
himself in silence and, instead of delivering the expected or even 
fervently hoped-for speech, he issued a written proclamation, thus 
avoiding any direct contact with the public. 

It is for this reason that his public speeches grew more and more 
infrequent in the course of the Second World War. Only once was he 
forced to deliver an address after he had suffered a devastating defeat: on 
November 8, 1942, when the landing of the Allied Forces in North 
Africa coincided with his traditional commemorative speech on the 
occasion of the Munich Putsch in 1923. 184 Predictably, the speech he 
delivered that day numbers among his weakest. The portentous event 
weighed heavily in the hall and preoccupied the thoughts of the older 
party comrades; they even occasionally forgot to applaud at the places 

68 



The Methodology of Hitler's Oratory 

in Hitler's speech which normally would have prompted an automatic 
response. 

One might have expected Hitler to refrain from comment on the 
assassination attempt of July 20, 1944, for it did prove that strong 
opposition pervaded even into the ranks of those closest to him. He 
chose instead to interpret his escape as a sign from Divine Providence, a 
triumph tantamount to a miracle, and interrupted long months of 
silence to report the news of his "victory." 185 Demonstrating by this 
public appearance that he had survived unscathed was only secondary to 
his pose of triumph. 

When speaking in smaller circles or to his friends, Hitler made use 
of the same techniques he employed when addressing public gatherings: 
he made certain that he was given undivided attention and complete 
silence, initially tiring his listeners with repetition and circumlocutory 
narrative, and then striking the tone he had chosen from his repertoire: 
sentimental reminiscence, incensed anger, plaintive self-pity, or fanatic 
fervor. 

Ward Price, who witnessed Hitler's behavior in countless situations, 
wrote in 1938: "When more than two people are present, even though 
they are of his most intimate circle, there is no general discourse. Either 
Hitler talks and they all listen, or else they talk among themselves and 
Hitler sits silent." 186 

So great was Hitler's oratorical power over many Germans that, 
even into March and April of 1945, he was still capable of instilling new 
faith in normally quite level-headed people in a situation which was 
devoid of hope. Albert Forster, Gauleiter in Danzig, reported to the 
chancellory bunker in March of 1945 in despair that 4000 Russian tanks 
were approaching Danzig. The German tanks available could not halt 
their progress. Forster consulted with Hitler and returned in a 
completely altered state of mind. "He told me that he will save Danzig," 
he cried, "so there can be no doubt about it!" 187 

Colonel General Ritter von Greim, whom Hitler had dispatched to 
Berlin after Goring had been dismissed, arrived at the chancellory 
bunker on April 26, 1945 completely demoralized, as his pilot Hanna 
Reitsch reports. 188 When he emerged from Hitler's room, he was 
convinced of the possibility of a German Endsieg. Hitler had painted a 
rosy picture of the dismal situation and subsequently appointed von 
Greim Field Marshal and Commander in Chief of an air force which 
effectively no longer existed. 

69 



Introduction 

On the other hand, there can be no doubt that Hitler's speeches 
mainly impressed those Germans who were witnessing his performance 
for the first time or for whom the spectacle was a rare occasion. Even 
the highest-quality blade will dull with repeated use, just as the most 
beautiful melody can become unbearable when heard too often. 

Grand Admiral Erich Raeder noted before the International Military 
Tribunal in Nuremberg that Hitler's arguments lost much of their 
impact with those who were forced to hear them frequently and even 
daily, 189 particularly during the course of World War II. The generals at 
the Fiihrer Headquarters, who came to know Hitler's tirades nearly by 
heart, had no qualms about nodding off to sleep during his monologues 
unless, of course, Hitler's remarks were directed at themselves. 190 
Foreign visitors to Germany 191 were struck by the fact that, during 
Hitler's most frenzied outbreaks when he ranted like a madman, his 
closest advisors — Goring, Ribbentrop and others — looked on in utter 
indifference or gazed out of the window. 

Hitler's attempts to repeat the oratorical triumphs he had scored 
within Germany in the scope of his foreign policy and to impress 
foreign statesmen by impassioned delivery and radio speeches were 
completely ineffectual when parried by representatives of comparable or 
superior nations. 

Behavior with which he could humble Schuschnigg, Hacha, Horthy, 
and many of the politicians from the Balkans, and convince Mussolini and 
Ciano, was useless when practiced upon the British, American and 
Russian statesmen. Hitler's oratorical art made as little impact on 
Chamberlain, Churchill, Halifax, and Henderson as on Roosevelt and 
Sumner Welles. And even the "enthusiastic" newspaper articles published 
by Lloyd George and Lord Rothermere on their respective visits to see 
Hitler were in reality nothing more than amused, ironic commentaries. 

When Hitler received Molotov in 1940, his raptures on a fantastic 
future did not evoke a like response from the Russian, who kept steering 
the discussion back to topics in the present which were more to the 
point. 192 Even Franco, who was indebted to the German dictator for his 
military support in the Spanish Civil War, remained immune to Hitler's 
impassioned rhetoric in 1940 in Hendaye and persisted in upholding his 
policy of neutrality. 193 

The years 1932 to 1938 — during which Hitler brought Germany 
under his control and set up the Greater German Reich — were studded 
with triumphs; the years 1939 to 1945 — during which he struggled with 

70 



The Methodology of Hitler's Oratory 

the same means to bring the world under his control — were pierced by 
defeat upon defeat. The contrast between what Hitler had prophesied 
and what actually came to pass grew increasingly stark, and the speeches 
he delivered as a blow to foreign powers ultimately worked against him. 
The wild threats with which Hitler intended to force the British into 
submission during World War II had nearly the opposite effect. 
Churchill declared as early as November 1939: 194 

"If words could kill, we should be dead already. But we are not disturbed by 
these blood-curdling threats. Indeed, we take them as a sign of weakness in our 
foes." 

The BBC adopted the practice of broadcasting segments of Hitler's 
speeches and contrasting his allegations with the true facts. The 
difference was a fatal one for Hitler. He had attempted to measure the 
world in terms of domestic German standards, and this basic 
miscalculation ultimately brought about his ruin. 



71 



Remarks on the Structure of this Work 

Adolf Hitler's speeches and proclamations are products of his own 
creation, the unerring first-hand documentation of his career as a 
politician, head of government, head of state, and supreme commander 
of the German armed forces. They record his rise during the years 1932 
to 1938 and trace his fall during the years from 1939 to 1945. In and of 
themselves, they represent an impressive history of the Third Reich. 

All of Hitler's words either cited or mentioned in this work — 
speeches, proclamations, interviews, telegrams, correspondence, etc.— 
are referenced throughout according to their respective source. 

Significant statements are reproduced verbatim. Routine speeches 
and proclamations, among them campaign speeches, addresses on the 
occasions of the annual Party Congress, May Day, Thanksgiving Day, 
New Year's Day, etc., are reproduced in full or in the form of lengthy 
excerpts only the first time they were held. The subsequent annual 
reiterations are quoted only insofar as they deal with new information 
or ideas, while the remainder are presented in summary form. Addresses 
constituting mere repetitions of prior speeches are cited only as to 
source. The "party narrative," the circumlocutory and predictable 
introduction to many speeches, has generally been deleted. 

Such abridgement was unavoidable, for otherwise the publication of 
these speeches, particularly for the eventful years 1932 and 1933, would 
have exceeded a reasonable scope and necessitated sacrificing clarity. It 
can nonetheless be said that none of Hitler's public remarks which 
played a significant role in the course of events have been omitted. 

Dashes enclosed in brackets following a section of a speech signify 
that further — inconsequential — comments on the same topic have been 
omitted. Brackets within a quote contain remarks by the author 
consisting of explanations designed to aid comprehension, corrections of 
grammatical errors, and occasional exclamation marks drawing 
attention to particularly preposterous claims on Hitler's part. 

Quotations taken from the Volkischer Beobachter are based 
exclusively upon the Munich and/or Southern German editions unless 
reference is explictly made to the Berlin or Northern German editions. 

72 



Remarks on the Structure of this Work 

Descriptions of audience response— frequently a part of Volkischer 
Beobachter accounts and DNB reports — have generally been omitted or 
included merely in part. Only Hitler's speech before the Industry Club 
on January 27, 1932 and the debate between Hitler and Wels in the 
Reichstag on March 23, 1933 contain a complete record of the applause 
and jeers as cited in the Eher pamphlet and, respectively, the 
stenographic minutes of the Reichstag session. 

Awareness of the historical background is required to place the 
speeches and proclamations in perspective; this is facilitated in the 
detailed commentary provided parallel to the original documentation. 
The footnotes provide further information and explain the roles of 
various important persons cited. 

The materials are presented chronologically and divided into years. 
Each year is prefaced by a brief summary of its most important events. 
In order to facilitate the task of locating individual speeches, 
proclamations or footnote references, each page is headed by date. 
Volume IV closes with a comprehensive index of topics, persons, and 
places, as well as a glossary. 

The division of the work into two major sections (Volumes I and II: 
1932 to 1938; Volumes III and IV: 1939 to 1945) is based upon a logic 
inherent in the course of Hitler's career. The years 1932 to 1938 were 
the seven years of Hitler's triumph. He scored victory after victory 
during this time, albeit confined almost exclusively to the domestic 
front. The years 1939 to 1945 marked his gradual decline. The dictator 
had grossly overestimated his capacity to master conflicts with foreign 
powers, first on the diplomatic level and then in the form of a full-scale 
war. His initial successes proved but Pyrrhic victories, serving only to 
expedite his ultimate defeat. 



73 



THE YEAR 1932 



Major Events in Summary 

The year 1932 marked the climax of Hitler's domestic struggle. To a 
certain extent, the events of these twelve months reflect the entire course 
of his endeavors to gain control of German government since 1919. Thus 
the year 1932 as mirrored in this work is an accurately drawn miniature 
of the fourteen years of struggle for power which preceded it. 

There were three alternative paths which could lead Hitler to the 
power he so coveted. The first possibility was a violent coup, which 
would, in all probability, necessitate bloodshed and an open 
confrontation with the armed forces of the Reichswehr and the police — 
a path which Hitler was hesitant to take now and had attempted to 
avoid at his putsch in November 1923. Nevertheless, he kept this 
possibility in mind as a last resort and had made certain preparations for 
it during this major year of struggle, 1932. 1 

The second path was that of legal accession to power by means of a 
plebiscite, i.e. by achieving an absolute majority or a "right-wing 
majority" in the Reichstag and the Landtage (State Diets) or else with 
the election of a National Socialist Reich President. Under normal 
circumstances, the Weimar Constitution provided for the latter only 
every seven years. 

In both cases — either a right-wing majority in the Reichstag or the 
election of a National Socialist Reich President — nothing could have 
prevented the legal constitution of a cabinet chosen by Hitler. 

The year 1932, given Hitler's rhetorical prowess, appeared to fulfill 
all of the prerequisites for this solution: domestic chaos had reached a 
peak due to the worldwide economic crisis; six million unemployed 
were demanding work and bread. The Mittelstand, the civil servants, and 
the peasants were less than satisfied with the German Government. The 
Reich President and the Reich Chancellor had been governing since 
1930 with what amounted to dictatorial powers by virtue of Article 48 
of the Weimar Constitution and had nevertheless been unable to 
alleviate the economic oppression. 

No less than fifteen election campaigns in 1932 (two presidential 
elections, two Reichstag elections, nine Landtag elections, and two local 

75 



Introduction 

elections) were dominated by Hitler's demagogical talents, which were 
sans pareil at the time. He was nonetheless able to score only partial 
successes in relatively small Lander. In the more decisive elections, the 
requisite 50% of the votes cast eluded his grasp despite his tireless efforts 
and unrivaled oratorical campaigns. The third path to power led, in the 
current figure of speech, through the "back door." It was essential to 
exert sufficient influence on both the private and public counsellors of 
the Reich President in the circles of the aristocracy, the Reichswehr, and 
the economy to such an extent that they would, in turn, attempt to 
sway the Reich President to institute a presidential cabinet under Hitler 
composed of ministers enjoying his personal confidence. 

This path, which ultimately took Hitler to his goal, also gave him 
ample opportunity to make use of his powers of oral persuasion. He 
who had long been the butt of ridicule as a small-time party leader and 
failed putschist had become socially acceptable by 1932. The Reich 
President received him several times. Ministers in and out of office, 
leaders of industry, former generals, and active officers of the 
Reichswehr met to confer with him; party leaders from the German 
Nationalists to the Center made appointments to see him. Some were 
attempting to consolidate their forces with his; others to pacify him 
with insignificant ministerial posts. As the "drummer" 2 of the national 
uprising, he had served their purpose well; now they wanted to exercise 
the power he had gained. 

But Hitler outplayed them all. Under the very eyes of the 
Government, he had established a "state within a state" with his 
National Socialist Party and now declared publicly that he and the 
NSDAP were the true representatives of Germany, and not the existing 
Reich Government. His Reichsleiters and Gauleiters conducted 
themselves as though they were Reich Ministers and District Presidents. 
Countless party "offices" (Agrarian Policy Office, Army Policy Office, 
Labor Service Office, etc.) made public statements on the events of the 
day and interfered with genuine "official" matters. Hitler dispatched his 
own observer — former General Franz Ritter von Epp — to the 
Disarmament Conference in Geneva. 

In 1932 he issued a proclamation to the German peasants 
admonishing them to finish harvesting their crops in good time. 3 

The "Reich Press Chief of the NSDAP conducted press conferences 
as though he were the press chief of the Reich Government. Uniformed 
men of the SS, the Schutzstaffel, assumed the task of erecting roadblocks 
at mass meetings and rallies as though they were the regular police. Tens 

76 



The Bid for Power 

and even hundreds of thousands of SA men in uniform made spectacular 
performances of marching and parading in the former German garrison 
towns. Their formations 4 were numbered after the former imperial 
army troops. 

When Hitler later acceded to power, he did not hesitate to appoint 
his party friends to the same positions in State which they had held 
within the Party, with the exception of the SA, as would become 
dramatically evident in 1934. 

When attending negotiations in Berlin in 1932, Hitler resided at the 
Kaiserhof Hotel across the street from the Chancellory. He intended 
that those in power there see that he was really standing "ante portas" 
and hear the cries of the many thousands from the Wilhelmsplatz 
demanding Hitler's Machtergreifung. 

Asked by a journalist whether one might indeed witness a march on 
Berlin a la Mussolini, Hitler replied: "Why should I march on Berlin? 
I'm already there!" 5 

In reality, Hitler was not as certain of victory as he pretended to be. 
He knew very well that, were he not successful in exploiting the 
extraordinary circumstances of the year 1932 (i.e. the economic and 
political crises and the presidential and parliamentary elections), his 
accession to power would become a thing of the distant future. By the 
end of 1932, the worst of the world economic crisis had passed, the 
unemployment rates had already begun to decline, and there were 
endeavors in Lausanne and Geneva to close the chapter on the Treaty of 
Versailles and the reparations. 

To some of Hitler's voters, the struggle for power had already taken 
too long: they would no longer cast their ballots for him. Party leaders 
here and there began to lose heart and became restless. Hitler declared 
at that time: "If the Party ever falls apart, I will take a gun and end it all 
in a minute." 6 

But Hitler mastered these crises. His talent for oratory and his 
persistence won out. In the end he was able to persuade not only his 
vacillating party comrades but also those in power at the time— above all 
Papen and Hindenburg — that he alone was able to lead Germany 
onwards to an age of new greatness. 

The triumph Hitler achieved over his domestic opponents in 1932 
continued to affect him throughout his lifetime. He believed himself 
capable of attaining his foreign-policy goals by using the same methods 
and expected that the outcome of this second struggle would not deviate 
"by a hair's breadth" from the first. 7 

77 



January 1, 1932 



Report and Commentary 



It was Hitler's habit to begin the new year with a proclamation to 
his National Socialist supporters, a practice he upheld until 1945. 
Originally, the proclamation was coupled with a New Year's command 
to the fighting formations of the SA and SS, the HJ, etc.; from 1935 on, 
this was replaced by the order of the day to the soldiers of the 
Wehrmacht. Hitler's New Year's proclamations adhered more or less to 
a standard pattern: enumeration of the enormous successes of the 
preceding year and the pronouncement of even greater victories for the 
year to come. The ominous figures naturally played an important role, 
whereby their accuracy was of lesser importance. 

In the New Year's proclamation for 1932, which follows verbatim, 8 
Hitler maintained without hesitation that his following had swelled to 
15 million. In point of fact, however, the most successful election of the 
year 1932, the Reichstag election of July 31, had brought him no more 
than 13.7 million ballots. 

New Year's Proclamation to the 
Party. 9 

National Socialists! 

The twelfth year of our Movement's struggle has come to an end. Thanks 
to the colossal loyalty of all our fellow fighters, thanks to their sense of duty and 
sacrifice, the victory march of the National Socialist German Workers' Party 
can continue this year as well. We all know one thing: in 1931 our Movement 
became the largest party in Germany. Tremendous external victories are visible 
evidence to all of this fact. 

When six and a half million German adults elected 107 of our trusted 
deputies to the German Reichstag on September 14, 1930, for the first time the 
whole world saw rent apart the web of lies with which the internal growth of 
our Movement has been outwardly veiled for years. Even the lies and slander 
were forced to halt their workings: a victory had been wrought which lies could 
not erase. Admittedly, only a few short weeks later, those professional political 

78 



January 1, 1932 

perverters of the truth had regained their footing and recovered from the initial 
shock to the extent that their brazen old game of lies could begin anew. They 
made an attempt to persuade themselves and the world that only a "temporary 
illness" of the German Volk could be the cause of our success. The Party- 
according to them — had reached its climax and would now plunge into abrupt 
decline. 

Party Comrades! You have witnessed how Fate and the facts have once 
again proven our official political prophets to be liars. The year 1931 has pinned 
victory upon victory to our National Socialist flags. In spite of the flood of lies, 
misrepresentations, and slander which I had predicted, the masses of our 
adherents have grown enormously in this year's elections. Germany is in the 
process of becoming National Socialist at a rapid pace. The elections in Bremen, 
Hamburg, Oldenburg, Anhalt -Dessau, Mecklenburg, Hesse, and Wiirttemberg 
have brought about a continuous increase in the greatness and significance of our 
Movement. However, these external victories, no matter how exhilarating they 
are, would be worthless were they not ultimately accompanied by a comparable 
internal growth within the Party. 

Party Comrades! You should gauge the magnitude of our Movement's 
growth by the following: on September 14, 1930, our Party had 293,000 
members. Today, on January 1, 1932, membership has already exceeded the 
800,000 mark. 

By January 1, 1931, approximately 100,000 men had joined our SA and SS 
organizations. Today, on January 1, 1932, there are far more than 300,000. The 
number of our adherents already exceeds 15 million! 

This is a victory march unparalleled in the history of our Volk. 

This numerical growth corresponds to the unique internal expansion of our 
organization. 

Today Bolshevism and its Marxist-Centrist-Democratic helpers are faced 
with a gigantic front of awakening Germany! 

Were it not for the pact which the Center and the middle classes have 
entered into with Marxism as a result of their inner relatedness of character, 
there would be no red, anti-Christian Germany today. 

Therefore they are the accursed accomplices of Bolshevism. 

Just as a figure like Bismarck once rightfully described liberalism as the 
pacesetter of Social Democracy, Democracy and the Center are today the 
pacesetters of Bolshevism and thus the parties who are mainly to blame for our 
misfortune. One merely external demonstration of the greatness of our 
National Socialist Organization is the establishment of the "Braunes Haus" as 
central Reich Office. In February of last year, the move was made from the 
offices in 50 Schellingstrasse to the newly acquired building in the Brienner 
Strasse. Despite extensions and modifications, today this building is already 
much too small. A new building is on the rise, another is in the planning stages, 
and yet another structure neighboring the Braunes Haus has been occupied 
since December. Not until 1931 was it possible to enlarge Organization 
Department II. 

This has led not only to the increased conquest of the worker in the city, 
but also to the winning of the peasant. 

79 



January 1, 1932 

The National Socialist German Workers' Party is a party not only of city 
dwellers; today it is also already the largest German peasants' party. 

Its policy of balancing and reconciling the individual ranks of life, of 
unifying all Germans for the great political lifework of our Volk, impresses its 
mark more strongly upon its own composition with each passing month. 

The inner stability of our Movement and the absolute rightness of the 
thoughts as well as the foundations of its organization revealed themselves 
perhaps most clearly when called upon to overcome all of our adversaries' 
attempts, by way of internal disturbances, to fragment the party of German 
resurrection they so abhor. 

The rejoicing with which our enemies welcomed every apparent indication 
of inner rebellion in our Movement was just as great as their bitter 
disappointment: the Party has come out of every test stronger than before. The 
year 1931 is the most convincing evidence of all! 

National Socialists! Today you see this evolution clearly behind you. May 
you set your sights from there on the future. The time is approaching when the 
world will face a decision which comes about only once in millenniums. 

The bourgeois parties view what happens in the world through their own 
eyes. Small and shortsighted as they are, they suppose the manifestations of the 
environment to be powers similar to their own. Even now, they have not yet 
recognized in Bolshevism the destruction of all human cultures but perceive it 
to be a perhaps still "interesting experiment of a new desire on the part of the 
State." They are totally unaware that today a thousand-year-old culture is being 
shaken to its very foundations; they have no conception of the fact that, if 
Bolshevism ultimately triumphs, it will not merely mean that a few miserable 
bourgeois governments will go to the devil, but that irreplaceable historic 
traditions will come to an end as well. Yes, and that furthermore a turning point 
in the development of humanity will inevitably be the end result in the worst 
meaning of the word. Bolshevism's triumph means not only the end of today's 
peoples, their states, their cultures, and their economies; it also means the end of 
their religions! This world shock will result not in freedom, but in barbarous 
tyranny on the one hand and a materialistic brutalization of man on the other! 

As so often before in the history of peoples, Germany's fate this time will 
again be of decisive importance for the fate of all. If the flags of the red 
stultification and brutalization of humanity [Menschheitsverdummung und 
Menschheitsvertierung) should ever be hoisted over Germany, the rest of the 
world will share the same lot. 

For seventy years, disreputable bourgeois parties in Germany have 
exhausted the power of the national idea and, to a large degree, left our Volk at 
the mercy of Marxism. For seventy years the parties of democracy and, in their 
wake, the strictly Christian Center Party, have helped to corrupt our Volk by 
practicing sodomy with the forerunners of Bolshevism. 

Today they are clinging with a reprehensible thirst for power to a regime 
which would no longer belong to them if their own significance alone were any 
measure. 

Were the National Socialist Movement to cease existing today as a 
counterbalance to Marxism, Germany would be Bolshevist tomorrow. 

80 



January 1, 1932 

But what is Fate's will? If there was any deeper meaning underlying the 
events of last year, then it can only be that it is Fate's own will that a clear line 
is drawn. 

We can see how the verse from the Bible which recognizes both the hot and 
the cold but damns the lukewarm to being spewn forth is coming to fruition in 
our Volk. The middle will be smashed and shattered. The compromises will 
come to an end. Today international Bolshevism is faced with the German 
nation under National Socialism. The Almighty Himself is creating, out of His 
own merciful will, the prerequisite for the salvation of our Volk; in allowing the 
lukewarm middle to be destroyed, He intends to give us the triumph. 

National Socialists! We now enter upon the new year in the conviction that 
it will be the most difficult year of the struggle of our Movement. 

A glance behind us shows countless sacrifices. As long as we comprised a 
small party, we were entitled to perceive in our own sacrifices the magnitude of 
the obligation for our actions. Now that Providence has granted us such great 
successes, the extent of our duties to Germany lies in the magnitude of the 
sacrifices which our Volk has taken on in the course of its historical evolution. 
We are fighting not for the victory of one party, but rather for the preservation 
of our Volk. 

In view of the magnitude of these sacrifices and this task, we cannot expect 
that the way which lies ahead will be easy! 

Men of the National Socialist Movement! SA and SS Comrades! I repeat the 
demands I made last year: 

Men of my National Socialist Movement! I am not demanding that you do 
anything illegal, I am not requiring anything which would bring your 
conscience in conflict with the law, but I do demand that you follow me loyally 
on the path which the law permits and which my conscience and my insight 
require, and that you join your fate with my fate. 

It will be a purgatory of slander, lies, misrepresentations, terror, and 
suppression through which our Movement must pass! 

Our opponent fears retaliation for the inordinate number of crimes he has 
perpetrated upon our Volk. Hence no trick or deed is beyond him in his 
determination to prevent the victory of our Movement. 

National Socialists! Expect it from the very beginning, and nothing will 
surprise you. Then you will overcome everything. 

The path from seven men to fifteen million was more difficult than the path 
from fifteen million to the German nation will be. 

As we once had the audacity to believe in our gigantic goal and its 
realization, let us today have the courage, like a knight without fear and without 
reproach, to withstand hell, death and the devil and choose the way to victory 
and freedom. National Socialists! Each of you shall be proud to be attacked by 
our adversaries in 1932! 

He who is not attacked by the Marxist falsifiers and the Centrist liars and 
their press is useless to Germany and worth nothing to our Volk! 

Struggle through to the realization that our enemies today are left with only 
one means of fighting: lying; and gauge from this the necessity of a community 
welded together for better or worse. 

81 



January 1, 1932 

Comrades! Let us march into this new year as fighters with the goal of 
leaving it as victors. 

Long live our glorious National Socialist Combat Movement! 

Long live our eternally beloved German Volk! 

Deutschland erwache! 

Munich, January 1, 1932 Adolf Hitler 

New Year's Command 10 to the SA, SS, HJ, and the NSKK 

The year 1931 strengthened and consolidated the Movement's units 
combined under the command of the Supreme SA Leadership both internally 
and in terms of numbers. 

The army of Brownshirts has multiplied many times over. 

The Movement has had to bear a high number of casualties. Forty-six were 
killed for the honor and freedom of the Volk; 4,804 were wounded. We wish to 
commemorate them foremost in loyalty and gratitude. 

The victims were not killed in vain. The blood of the fighters shall give the 
sprout new energy. 

Comrades, I thank you at the threshold of the new year for everything you 
have accomplished in the past year full of renunciation and sacrifices. 

I wish to express my unqualified recognition of all the leaders and men of 
the SA, SS, HJ, and NSKK. 

Proud of the accomplishments of 1931, you may enter the new year with 
cheerful confidence. 

You are the hope of the German Volk. 

Be worthy of your mission! 

Der Oberste SA Fiihrer: Adolf Hitler 

Pursuant to the Weimar Constitution, the Reich President, who was 
to be elected directly by the people, had a term of seven years. The Field 
Marshal of World War I, Paul von Hindenburg, had been elected in 1925 
as a candidate of the right-wing parties. In 1932, he was nearly 85 years 
old, which meant that under normal circumstances he would not have 
been considered for a further term. In any case, the right-wing parties 
which had chosen him as their leader in 1925 did not approve of his 
manner of governing, for he was more or less loyal to the Constitution. 
However, the Social Democrats and — even more so — the Center 
suddenly clung to him in 1932. Reich Chancellor Heinrich Bruning 
(Center) was using Article 48 to govern in an authoritarian fashion as 
Hindenburg's presidential chancellor and could hardly have remained in 
office given a different President. But the Social Democrats feared that 
new elections could result in even more ballots for the National 
Socialists or even in the election of a National Socialist Reich President. 

One possible solution to this problem was a parliamentary maneu- 
ver: all of the parties, with the exception of the Communists, would pass 

82 



January 1, 1932 

a resolution in the Reichstag by a two-thirds majority which would 
extend President Hindenburg's term in office for national reasons. 

For this purpose Hitler was sent a polite invitation to attend 
negotiations in Berlin in early January 1932. The Reich Government 
believed that Hitler would be so naive as to consent to the extension of 
Hindenburg's term and forfeit this magnificent opportunity to launch a 
tremendous speechmaking campaign. Although Hitler was certain from 
the onset that none other than he could be considered as candidate for 
the NSDAP, he nevertheless accepted the invitation and proceeded to 
Berlin. The Party's press agency circulated the following account on 
January 8, 1932: n 

On Tuesday, January 5, Adolf Hitler was requested by telegraph to travel 
to Berlin for talks with Reich Minister of the Interior Groener. The leader of the 
National Socialists conferred with Reich Chancellor Briining and Reich 
Minister of the Interior Groener on the evening of Wednesday, January 6 and 
yesterday afternoon, January 7, on the subject of the Reich President election. 

Adolf Hitler reserved comment to the Reich Chancellor in order to first 
inform the parties of the national opposition of his opinion. 12 

Hitler subsequently failed to enlighten Brtining and Groener, who 
told the press that the talks had been held "on friendly terms." 13 He first 
travelled to Lemgo to speak there on January 8 at the Lippian municipal 
election. It was, he declared to the Volkischer Beobachter, "the most 
monumental election rally the land of Arminius had ever seen." 14 

On January 9, Hitler was back in Berlin, where he once again 
conferred with Briining and Reich Minister Treviranus for one hour. A 
further conference with Privy Councillor Alfred Hugenberg 15 followed 
in the afternoon. The discussions with the national opposition (German 
Nationalists and Stahlhelm), which had formed what was called the 
"Harzburg Front" 16 with Hitler as early as October 1931, were 
continued on January 11 in the Kaiserhof Hotel and concluded with a 
rejection of an extended term "due to doubts as to its constitutionality," 
in spite of State Secretary Meissner's previous personal visit to Hitler. 17 

On January 12, Hitler addressed the following letter to Reich 
Chancellor Briining: 18 

Berlin, January 12, 1932 
Dear Herr Reichskanzler! 

On January 6, 1932, Reich Minister of the Interior General Groener in- 
formed me that there were plans to extend the presidency of Field Marshal von 
Hindenburg by parliamentary measures or to reelect the Reich President by a 

83 



January 12, 1932 

two-thirds majority. Reich Minister of the Interior Groener requested my 
Party's view on this contemplated action. 

I have the privilege of informing you, Herr Reichskanzler, that the National 
Socialist German Workers' Party, with all respect for the person of the Reich 
President, is not in a position to support this proposal. On behalf of the 
National Socialist Movement, I thus refuse our consent. I will inform you, dear 
Herr Reichskanzler, of the constitutional, foreign policy, domestic, and moral 
reasons which have prompted us to take this view in a detailed statement to be 
dispatched without delay. 

With my assurance of respectful esteem, I remain, Herr Reichskanzler, 
faithfully yours, 

Adolf Hitler 

The "detailed statement" of reasons promised by Hitler was given to 
mining on January 16, 1932 by Goring. The lengthy letter 19 was written 
in the style of a painstakingly exact constitutionalist who simply saw no 
way of departing from the letter of the law and approving of an 
extension to the President's term by resolution of parliament. Brtining 
made the mistake of answering this empty, albeit long-winded 
document. Now Hitler was in his element: he branded Brtining as a 
national opportunist who had not voted for Hindenburg in 1925 but 
now intended to exploit him as a shield for his own political 
machinations. 

Hitler's open letter to Brtining of January 25, 1932 (in reply to the 
latter's letter of January 23, 1932) read as follows: 20 

In respect to your remarks, Herr Reichskanzler, concerning the political reasons 
which force me as Fuhrer of the National Socialist Movement to reject your attempt, 
with all due respect to the person of the Field Marshal von Hindenburg, I may note 
as follows: 

You perceive in the arguments which we have to show for our rejection of 
your proposal a lack of objectivity and a motivation due solely to party politics, 
while conversely claiming for yourself the exclusive right of being motivated by 
vaterlandisch (patriotic) and other similar standpoints. Herr Reichskanzler, may 
I then take the liberty of posing the following question: 

Seven years ago, at a time when the Center was fighting Hindenburg's 
election to Reich President with every means available and the Field Marshal's 
rival candidate was truthfully anything but an "historic figure," did you or did 
you not cast your ballot for Herr Marx, motivated by the same vaterlandisch or 
party political reasons? Or did, in your opinion, the interests of the Vaterland 
speak against Hindenburg at that time and only now speak for him? 

Herr Reichskanzler, you are of the purely personal opinion that today your 
parliamentary attempt is a necessary act in terms of national politics, and I am 
of the conviction that the most important thing to be done in these terms is the 
elimination of the present system. 

84 



January 25, 1932 

In your letter you write that you must, as a "tax to truth," disagree with my 
"theories" by pointing out the facts. 

Herr Reichskanzler, I have reread your letter perhaps a dozen times now 
but have searched in vain for these "facts"; apparently they have been omitted. 
You say that, from a "patriotic point of view," you find it quite striking that I 
attribute the main cause of distress in Germany to the political conditions 
resulting from our parties. Herr Reichskanzler! Fiirst Bismarck, who 
indisputably represented a patriotic standpoint as well and for this very reason 
was so dreadfully showered with hate and reproach by the Center, had the exact 
same opinions, particularly in respect to the parties — the same ones which 
constitute your basic support, Herr Reichskanzler — in viewing party politics as 
the main causes of distress in Germany. 

Then you write — also with little regard to the "facts" — that, in what is 
"almost the general opinion," one of the "external factors" for our misery is the 
Treaty of Versailles which, with its political and economic-financial injustice and 
unreasonableness, has given rise to distress in both Germany and the world. 

Quite right, Herr Reichskanzler! But a Treaty of Versailles would never 
have come about had not the Center, the Social Democrats and the Democrats, 
the parties who support you, undermined, destroyed and betrayed the old 
Reich— if not in fact prepared, carried out, or at least accepted and covered up 
for the revolution. I, for one, Herr Reichskanzler, have never regarded the 
Treaty of Versailles as a possible foundation for the life of our Volk or the 
success of the economy, but the parties supporting you have, by signing this 
Treaty, at least pretended that its performance was within the realm of the 
possible. In order to "preclude any confusion in history," I may note that I, and 
not you, was the first person in Germany to take a stand against this Treaty in 
countless mass rallies. However, the merciless handling of this Treaty which, in 
your view, destroyed every attempt at rebuilding Germany in the first five years, 
would have been completely impossible had not certain "German" parties given 
their consent to each act of blackmail, ignominy and disgrace. 

Hence I am disregarding neither "the external circumstances" nor the "state 
of affairs" which they have created; rather, I am holding those parties responsible 
who, through their doings, either created these circumstances or at least 
encouraged them. Just as Bismarck was once forced to overcome the old liberal 
party in order to weld Germany together, so must your parties, Herr 
Reichskanzler, be annihilated in order to save Germany. 

Herr Reichskanzler! You talk about "well-informed men in all countries" 
and attempt to play them off against us. Do you intend perhaps to cite the 
opinions of these "experts," who talked the German Volk first into taking the 
Dawes Plan and then the Young Plan by prophesying that we and the rest of the 
world would benefit as a result of these "treaties"? Herr Reichskanzler, we, and 
not your experts, have accurately prophesied the developments. I am willing at 
any time to confront the "opinions" of your "experts" with our warnings at that 
time before the entire German Volk. Seldom have opinions of government 
experts been proven wrong by the facts in such a dreadful fashion. Today's 
catastrophe, Herr Reichskanzler, is one we have been predicting for years, and 

85 



January 25, 1932 

for this reason we were decried by you and your parties as "dreamers posing a 
threat to state security." 

Herr Reichskanzler! If you say that a different Reich Government would 
have to continue on the paths you have taken, I grant you, seen from your 
vantage point, the necessity of such an attitude: just as a military commander, 
regardless of how many defeats he has suffered, is still convinced that another 
would not have done any better. But history has shown that there is indeed a 
difference, in a situation which is desperate as it is, whether someone like the 
Herzog von Braunschweig is commanding the army or someone like Gneisenau. 
In conclusion, you admonish us to consider that successes in foreign policy are 
only attainable by means of the unanimity with which the nation supports its 
negotiators. 

Herr Reichskanzler! Certainly there was a time when it was the obligation 
of every decent human being to support those who preserved the interests of 
Germany which were defended on the battlefield at that time. But in that most 
terrible age, the very parties upon which you depend today did not follow this 
doctrine in the least! 

Today the main thing is to finally snatch the soul of the nation for the most 
"patriotic of interests" from these saboteurs ofthe German power of resistance. 
You cannot expect us, Herr Reichskanzler, to cover up for the Young Plan, the 
implementation of which your parties celebrated as a decisive step forward, 
while we recognized it as madness from the very start. And you cannot expect 
today that a genuinely responsible German give his unqualified approval to 
measures which, as the sum of human and historical experience has shown, can 
only bring further disaster upon a people. I do not doubt for a second, Herr 
Reichskanzler, that if Frederick the Great, Freiherr vom Stein or Bismarck had 
been damned to observe the politics of the last thirteen years as normal citizens, 
they would not be members of your Centrist-Democratic-Marxist club; they 
would be in the national opposition. 

Your actions, Herr Reichskanzler, are dictated by conscience; ours by 
insight. Perhaps your conscience gives you the energy to continue on your 
desperate way, but we are inspired by the will to elevate reason and courage to 
reign over our German life in place of the servile policy of illusionism and the 
international slogan-slinging doubletalk of the past thirteen years. 

I further take the liberty of expressing my astonishment that you, Herr 
Reichskanzler, choose not to see the difference between purely informatory 
talks, which you had with me and concerning which I have consequently 
refrained from comment, and the suggestion — upon which the Party as such 
should pass a resolution — to go along with a parliamentary action at a time when 
National Socialists throughout Germany are being brutally deprived of their 
civil rights: you have only to think of how National Socialist civil servants are 
treated in Prussia, think of the official acts of suppression, the suspicions, and 
persecution of all sorts being exercised against National Socialism; think of the 
many hundreds of honest fighters of my Movement who have been killed; 
remember, too, that the Reich with its ban on National Socialists gaining 
employment even as simple dock workers promotes the campaign of 
persecution against National Socialism! 

86 



January 25, 1932 

The fact that you, Herr Reichskanzler, do not wish or are unable to 
comprehend my astonishment at being enlisted to take part in a parliamentary 
act of this kind in view of these circumstances is nothing but an indication of 
how fundamentally your thinking differs from mine. 

Herr Reichskanzler! You regard it as your given right to believe that no one 
else could have done better than you have. But then do not deprive us of the 
right to be convinced that no government could have done worse than yours. 
Munich, January 25, 1932 
Braunes Haus Adolf Hitler 

Hitler's speeches in January 1932 were predominantly concerned 
with Germany's general economic and political situation but did not yet 
contain any indication of his decision to campaign for the office of 
Reich President. First he had to lay the groundwork. 

On January 14, he composed a written dedication 21 to the newly- 
founded NS Party press agency. On January 16, he submitted a 
declaration to the Lower Court of Berlin-Moabit in the libel suit filed 
against him by former SA leader Captain Stennes for defamation as a 
police spy. 22 Hitler was acquitted. On January 17, he delivered a speech 
to National Socialist students at the Berlin tennis courts, 23 and on 
January 23, addressed 7,000 party comrades in Munich (Zirkus Krone). 24 

Hitler pulled off a major coup on January 27. Introduced by the 
industrial magnate Fritz Thyssen, he spoke before the Industry Club in 
Dusseldorf. As at nearly all major speeches in 1932, he was attired in a 
dark-blue, double-breasted suit with a black tie. 

Most of the captains of industry gathered at Dusseldorf witnessed 
Hitler's oratory for the first time, and most of them were unquestionably 
opposed to him at the commencement of his two-and-a-half-hour 
address. They mistrusted the NSDAP — its very name hinted of 
Socialism— and expected at best a crude rendering of party propaganda. 

Although Hitler essentially expounded the same themes he treated 
in his mass rallies, the skeptical leaders of industry soon fell prey to his 
oratorical skill. 

Here Hitler again utilized his standard method of tiring his audience. 
For one and a half hours he held forth on lengthy "philosophical" 
explanations of the alleged causes of the world crisis, on the values of the 
individual and the Volk, on the principles of struggle and achievement, 
on the Herrensinn (concept of domination) in economics and politics, 
etc. When he had reached the conclusion that all of his listeners, 
including those who were antagonistic, were thoroughly confused and 
hence incapable of any intellectual resistance, he proceeded to the more 

87 



January 27, 1932 

tangible passages and confronted his now highly receptive audience with 
the imminent threat of Communism. At this point he began juggling 
with figures and percentages. He claimed point-blank that fifty percent 
of the German population had Bolshevist leanings; the question was 
how to create a strong and healthy Germany under these circumstances. 

Soon he began to cite nationalistic slogans to his awakening audience. 
The World War, he claimed, had been lost due to the spiritual 
aberration of Marxism. Only the Machtstaat (totalitarian state) could 
combat the disease in the economy. It was essential for Germany to 
maintain an army of eight million reservists. A single supreme 
command should govern the state, just as in the army or, even better, in 
a company! He himself had been a mere nameless German soldier "with 
a very small zinc number on his breast"; today he and his Party 
comprised the German Volk's only remaining assets. And even if he 
were only the drummer of national Germany, this in itself would be a 
great statesmanlike deed. 

The means for Germany's recovery were "the restoration of a healthy, 
national, powerful body politic, intolerant and relentless against those who 
do not acknowledge the vital interests of the nation and otherwise open to 
friendship and peace with anyone who wants friendship and peace." 

These closing words brought Hitler tumultuous, long drawn-out 
applause. But this was not all: he was granted access to German 
industry's Nibelungenschatz, a secret fund for combatting Bolshevism. 
This meant that the Party's strained financial situation was restored to 
good order for the approaching presidential election. As Goebbels 
noted, 25 it was improving "from day to day." 

Hitler addressed the Industry Club in Diisseldorf verbatim as 
follows: 26 

If today the National Socialist Movement is regarded in many circles in 
Germany as being opposed to the business world, I believe the reason for this 
lies in the fact that we formerly adopted a position in respect to the events which 
determined the development of today's situation differing from that of the other 
organizations which play a significant role in public life. Today our views still 
differ in many points from those of our opponents. 

It is our conviction that the misery is due not only and not primarily to 
general world events, for this would more or less exclude, from the very onset, 
the possibility that an individual people might better its situation. Were it true 
that the German misery is necessarily due solely to a so-called world crisis 27 — a 
world crisis on the course of which we as Volk naturally can exercise no 
influence or only an insignificant amount of influence — then Germany's future 
could only be described as hopeless. How should a state of affairs change for 



January 27, 1932 

which no one bears the blame? In my opinion, the view that the world crisis 
alone is to blame leads, in the long run, to a dangerous pessimism. It is only 
natural that the more the factors giving rise to a certain state of affairs are 
removed from an individual's sphere of influence, the more that individual will 
despair of ever being able to change this state of affairs. The gradual result will 
perforce be a certain lethargy, an indifference, and ultimately, perhaps despair. 

For I believe it is of primary importance to break with the view that our fate 
is determined by the world. It is not true that the final cause of our misery lies 
in a world crisis, in a world catastrophe; what is true is that we have slipped into 
a general crisis because certain mistakes were made here from the very 
beginning. I cannot say: "The general view is that the Peace Treaty of Versailles 
is the cause of our misfortune." What is the Peace Treaty of Versailles other than 
the work of man? It is not something which has been burdened or imposed upon 
us by Providence. It is the work of man for which, quite naturally, once again 
men will have to be held responsible, with their merits and with their faults. If 
this were not so, how would man ever be able to do away with this work at all? 
It is my opinion that there is nothing which has been caused by the will of man 
which cannot in turn be changed by another man's will. 

Both the Peace Treaty of Versailles as well as all of the consequences of this 
Treaty are the result of a policy which was perhaps regarded as being correct, at 
least in the enemy nations, some fifteen, fourteen or thirteen years ago; seen 
from our vantage point, it can only be seen as fatal, even though it was still 
supported by millions of Germans a mere ten years or less ago and only today 
stands revealed in its utter impossibility. Hence, I must conclude that there is 
some implicit blame for these events in Germany as well if I want to believe at 
all that the German Volk can still exercise some influence toward changing these 
conditions. 

It is, in my opinion, also false to claim that today's life in Germany is 
determined solely by considerations of foreign policy; that the primacy of foreign 
policy today controls the whole of our domestic life. It is naturally possible for a 
people to reach a point where factors of foreign policy exclusively influence and 
determine its domestic life. But let no one say that this circumstance is either 
natural or was intended from the onset. Rather, the important thing is for a 
people to lay the necessary groundwork to alter this state of affairs. 

If anyone tells me that foreign politics are the foremost determining factor 
in the life of a people, then I must first ask: What do you mean by "politics"? 
There are a number of definitions: Frederick the Great said: "Politics is the art 
of serving one's State with every means." Bismarck stated: "Politics is the art of 
the possible" — based upon the concept that everything within the realm of 
possibility should be done to serve the State and, in the subsequent transition to 
the concept of nationalities, the nation. Yet another considers that this service 
to the people can be effected by peaceful as well as military means, for 
Clausewitz said: "War is the continuation of politics, albeit with different 
means." Conversely, Clemenceau believed that peace today is nothing other 
than the continuation of the battle and the pursuit of the battle aim, although, 
once again, with different means. In short: politics is and can be nothing other 
than the realization of the vital interests of a people and the practical waging of 



January 27, 1932 

its life-battle with all means available. Thus it is quite clear that this life-battle has 
its initial starting point in the people itself, and that at the same time the people 
is the object, the value in and of itself, which is to be preserved. All of the 
functions of this body politic should ultimately fulfill only one purpose: 
securing the preservation of this body in the future. Therefore I can neither say 
that foreign policy is of primary significance, nor that economic policy has 
priority. Naturally a people will require an economy in order to live. But this 
economy is also only one of the functions the body politic requires for its 
existence. Primarily, however, the most essential thing is the starting point itself, 
namely the people in and of itself. 

One should not say that foreign politics are of prime importance in 
determining the path of a people; rather, one must say that, first of all, it is the 
people, with its own intrinsic value, with its organization and training in this 
value, which marks out its own path within the world around it. I should not 
say that foreign policy is capable of changing the value of the people to any 
significant extent; rather, I must say: each people must wage the battle to 
safeguard its own interests and can only wage a battle which corresponds to its 
innermost nature, its value, its capabilities, the quality of its organization, etc. 
Naturally, foreign policies will in turn exercise their retrospective influence. We 
ourselves have experienced it: what a difference there is in the reactions of the 
individual peoples to foreign policies! The reaction is determined by the inner 
state of mind, by the inner value, by the inner disposition, by the capabilities of 
each individual people. Thus I can ascertain that, even if the basic value of a 
nation is constant, shifts in the inner organization of the life of this nation can 
suffice to give rise to a change in its attitude to the external world. 

Therefore it would be wrong to claim that foreign policy shapes a people; 
rather, the peoples control their relations to the rest of the world respective to 
the forces inherent in them and respective to their education in the utilization 
of these forces. We can be quite certain that, had a different Germany stood in 
the place of today's Germany, the attitude to the rest of the world would also 
have been appreciably different. However, presumably the influences of the rest 
of the world would also have manifested themselves in other ways. Denial of 
this would mean that Germany's destiny could no longer be changed, no matter 
which regime is governing in Germany. The roots underlying such a belief and 
the explanation for it are obvious: assertions that the destiny of a people is 
determined solely by foreign countries have always been the excuses of bad 
governments. Weak and bad governments throughout the ages have made use of 
this argument in order to excuse their own failures or those of their 
predecessors; the failures of their entire tradition-bound, predetermined course; 
and in order to claim from the very beginning: no one else in my position could 
have done otherwise. For what could anyone do with his people against 
conditions which are firmly established and rooted in the rest of the world, with 
a people which is then naturally regarded as a fixed value as well? 

My view in this respect is another: I believe that three factors essentially 
influence the political life of a people. 

First of all, the inner value of a people, which is passed down from one 
generation to the next as inheritance and genotype — a value which only suffers 

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any change when the carrier of this inheritance, the people itself, changes in 
terms of its genetic composition. It is a certain fact that individual character 
traits, individual virtues and individual vices always recur in peoples as long as 
their inner nature, their genetic composition, does not undergo any essential 
change. I can see the virtues and vices of our German Volk in the Roman 
authors just as clearly as I perceive them today. This inner value, which 
determines the life of the people, can be destroyed by nothing save a genetic 
change in its very substance. An illogical organization of life or an unreasonable 
education may interfere with this value temporarily. But in this case, merely its 
outward effects are obstructed, while the basic value in and of itself continues to 
exist as it has before. This is the great source of all hope for the recovery of a 
people. Here lies the justification for believing that a people which, in the course 
of thousands of years, has exhibited countless examples of the highest inner 
value cannot suddenly have lost this inborn, genetically transmitted value from 
one day to the next; rather, that this people will one day again bring this value 
into play. Were this not the case, the belief of millions of people in a better 
future — the mystic hope for a new Germany — would be incomprehensible. It 
would be incomprehensible how this German Volk, depleted from eighteen to 
thirteen and a half million people at the end of the Thirty Years' War, could 
regain the hope of rising again by means of industriousness and efficiency, how 
hundreds of thousands and finally millions belonging to this utterly crushed 
Volk could once again be seized by the yearning for a new form of government. 
It would be inconceivable, were there not a certain unconscious conviction in all 
of these individuals, that a value was present in and of itself which manifested 
itself time and time again throughout the millenniums, perhaps repressed and 
hindered in its effectiveness at times by bad leadership, bad education, bad 
organization within the State — but which in the end always struggled its way 
through — presenting to the world over and over again the wonderful spectacle 
of our Volk rising anew. 

I said that this value can be corrupted. In particular, however, there are still 
two other inwardly related phenomena which we can observe again and again in 
periods of national decline. 

One of these is the substitution, in democracy, of a levelling, numerical 
concept for the value of the individual. The other is the negation of the value of 
the people, the denial that there is diversity in the natural abilities, achievements, 
etc. of the individual peoples. In fact, each of these two phenomena is mutually 
dependent upon the other or at least exerts an influence on the other's 
development. Internationalism and democracy are inseparable concepts. It is 
only logical that democracy, which negates the special value of the individual 
within the people and puts in its place a general value, a numerical value, must 
proceed in this same way in respect to the life of the peoples, and there it 
degenerates to internationalism. It is maintained, in a general sense, that peoples 
have no innate values; rather, at most, there may be manifestations of 
temporary differences as a result of education; but there is no essential 
difference in value between Negroes, Arians, Mongolians, and Redskins. This 
view, which constitutes the basis of our entire international body of thought 
today, is so far-reaching in its consequences that ultimately a Negro will be able 

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January 27, 1932 

to preside at the sessions of the League of Nations; it leads perforce in turn to 
the further consequence that, within a single people, in the same way, any 
differences between the value of individual members of this people will be 
particularly disputed. In this way, of course, any existing special ability, any 
existing basic value of a people can, for all practical purposes, be made 
ineffective. For, with this view, the greatness of a people is not the sum of all its 
achievements, but rather ultimately a sum of its outstanding achievements. Let 
no one say that the image which is conveyed as the first impression of the 
culture of mankind is the impression of its overall achievement. This entire 
structure of culture, down to its foundations and in each of its building blocks, 
is nothing other than the result of creative talent, the achievement of 
intelligence, and the industriousness of individuals. The greatest results are the 
great crowning achievement of individual geniuses endowed by God; the average 
results are the achievement of men of average ability; and the total result is 
undoubtedly a product of the application of human working power towards the 
exploitation of the creations of geniuses and talented men. But this naturally 
means that, when the capable minds of a nation — who are always in the 
minority — are given a value equal with all the others, this must result in 
subjugating the genius to the majority, in subjecting the ability and the value of 
the individual to the majority, a process which is mistakenly called the rule of 
the people. This is not the rule of the people, but in fact the rule of stupidity, of 
mediocrity, of half-measures, of cowardice, of weakness, and of inadequacy. The 
rule of the people is rather when a people allows itself to be governed and led in 
all areas of life by its most capable individuals who are born for the task, than to 
allow all areas of life to be administered by a majority which, by its very nature, 
is alien to these areas. 

In this way, however, democracy will, in practice, result in cancelling out 
the real values of a people. This is one of the reasons why peoples with a great 
past slowly forfeit their former status from the very point onwards when they 
submit to unlimited democratic rule by the masses; for the existing and 
potentially outstanding achievements of the individual in all areas of life are then 
practically ruled ineffective, thanks to being subjected to rape by numbers. But 
this means that such a people will gradually lose not only its cultural and not 
only its economical significance, but also its significance as a whole. In a 
relatively short time, it will no longer represent to the rest of the world the value 
it once did. And this will necessarily be accompanied by a shift in its ability to 
safeguard its interests in respect to the rest of the world. It is not inconsequential 
whether a people embarks on a period such as, for instance, 1807 to 1813 under 
the leadership of the most capable individuals who are granted extraordinary 
authority, or whether, in a similar period, such as 1918 to 1921, it marches under 
the leadership of parliamentary mass madness. In the one case, one observes that 
the inner rebuilding of the life of the nation has led to the highest achievements 
which, though certainly founded in the value of the people, are only then 
capable of being manifested; while in the other case even the value which already 
exists no longer manifests itself. Yes, things can proceed to the point when an 
unquestionably industrious people, in whose lifetime apparently very few 
changes have taken place — particularly in respect to the efforts of individu- 

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als — loses so much in terms of its overall achievement that this achievement is 
no longer of any significance to the rest of the world. 

But there is yet another factor involved: namely, the view that, having 
already denied the value of the individual and the particular value of a people, 
life on this planet must not necessarily be maintained through conflict — an 
opinion which, perhaps, might be of no import had it only become implanted 
in individual minds, but which has appalling consequences because it is slowly 
poisoning an entire people. It is not as though these types of general changes in 
the Weltanschauung are confined to the surface or involve purely intellectual 
processes. No, in the long run they affect the very roots, influencing all of the 
expressions of a people's life. 

I may cite an example: you, Gentlemen, are of the opinion that the 
construction of the German economy must be based upon the concept of private 
property. Then again, you can only maintain the idea of private property if it 
appears to be somehow founded in logic. This concept must draw its ethical 
justification from the insight that it is a necessity dictated by nature. It cannot, 
for instance, be motivated solely by the claim: "It has been this way until now, 
and therefore it must continue this way." For — in periods of great upheavals in 
the State, of movements of peoples, and of transitions in thought — institutions, 
systems, etc. cannot only remain unaffected because they have existed previously 
in the same form. It is characteristic of all truly great revolutionary epochs in the 
history of mankind that they pass over, with unparalleled ease, forms which 
have become sacred only with time or which only apparently become sacred 
with time. Thus it is necessary to justify these types of traditional forms which 
are to be preserved in such a manner that they can be regarded as absolutely 
necessary, and as logical and right. In that case, I must say one thing: private 
property is only morally and ethically justifiable if I assume that men's 
achievements are different. Only then can I say that, because men's 
achievements are different, the results of those achievements are also different. 
But if the results of men's achievements are different, then it is expedient to leave 
the administration of these achievements to men to an appropriate degree. It 
would be illogical to assign the administration of the fruits of an achievement 
connected to one individual to the next best, less capable individual or the 
whole, for these latter individuals have already proven, by the simple fact that 
they themselves have not performed the achievement, that they cannot be 
capable of administering the resulting product. Therefore one must admit that, 
from an economic point of view, men are not equally valuable, not equally 
significant in every area from the onset. Having admitted this, it would be 
madness to claim that, while there are doubtless differences in value in the 
economic sector, there are none in the political sector! It is nonsense to base 
economic life on the concept of achievement, of personal value and thus 
practically on the authority of the individual, while denying this authority of 
the individual in the political sphere and substituting in its place the law of the 
greater number — democracy. This will inevitably slowly cause a gulf between 
the economic view and the political view which one will attempt to bridge by 
assimilating the former to the latter — an attempt which has indeed been made, 
for this gulf has not remained pure, empty theory. The concept of the equality 

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of values has meanwhile been raised to a system not only in the political 
but also in the economic sector. And not only as an abstract theory: no, 
this economic system thrives in gigantic organizations— yes, today it has 
already seized the huge territory of an entire State. 

I am, however, incapable of regarding two basic ideas as being the possible 
foundation for the life of a people for any length of time. If it is correct to 
assume that human achievements are different, then it must also be correct that 
the value of man in respect to the creation of certain achievements is different. 
But then it is absurd to attempt to apply this only in respect to a certain sphere, 
in the sphere of economy and its leadership, but not in the sphere of leadership 
in the life-struggle as a whole, namely in the sphere of politics. Rather it is only 
logical that, if I acknowledge the unequivocal recognition of particular 
achievements in the sphere of economy as the prerequisite for any higher 
culture, then politically I must similarly grant priority to the particular 
achievement and thus to the authority of the individual. If, on the other hand, 
it is asserted — by none other than the economic sphere — that no particular 
abilities are required in the political sector, but that absolute uniformity reigns 
here in respect to achievement, then one day this same theory will be transferred 
from politics to the economy. Political democracy, however, is analogous to 
Communism in the economic sector. Today we find ourselves in an age in 
which these two basic principles are in conflict with each other on every border 
and have already penetrated the economy. 

One example: the practical activity of life is rooted in the significance of the 
individual. This is gradually becoming threatened by the rule of numbers in the 
economic sector. There is, however, one organization in the State — the Army — 
which cannot be democratized in any way whatsoever without surrendering its 
very essence. One proof that a Weltanschauung is weak is when it is inapplicable 
to all areas of life as a whole. In other words: the Army can only exist if the 
absolutely anti-democratic principle of unconditional authority from above and 
absolute responsibility from below are maintained, while in contrast, democracy 
means, for all practical purposes, complete dependency from above and 
authority from below. However, the result is that in a State in which the whole 
of political life — beginning with the community and ending with the Reichstag — 
is built upon the concept of democracy, the Army must gradually become an 
alien body, and an alien body which is bound to be perceived as an alien body, 
To democracy, it is an alien idea, an alien Weltanschauung which inspires this 
body. An internal struggle between the advocates of democracy and the 
advocates of authority is the inevitable consequence, a struggle we are now 
experiencing in Germany. 

One cannot expect that this struggle will suddenly come to a standstill. No, 
the opposite is the case: this struggle will continue until the nation ultimately 
becomes immersed in either internationalism or democracy and thus falls prey 
to a complete dissolution; or else creates a new and logical form for its inner life. 
It follows that education in pacifism must of necessity affect even the most 
insignificant of individual lives. The concept of pacifism is logical if I proceed on 
the basis of a general equality between peoples and human beings. For what 
other sense could there be in struggling? The concept of pacifism, translated 

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into practical reality and in all sectors, must slowly lead to the destruction of the 
drive for competition, of the ambition to bring forth particular achievements of 
all types. I cannot say: in politics we will become pacifists, will rid ourselves of 
the notion that it is necessary to protect life by means of conflict — but in 
economics we wish to remain keen competitors. If I eliminate the idea of 
struggle as such, it is of no significance that it still exists in isolated areas. In the 
end, political decisions will determine individual achievements. You can build 
up the best economy for fifty years on the basis of the principle of authority, on 
the basis of the principle of achievement; you can construct factories for fifty 
years; you can amass wealth for fifty years — and in three years of inadequate 
political decisions you can destroy all the results of these fifty years. [Chorus of 
assent). This is only natural, because political decisions spring from a different 
root than constructive economic decisions. 

In summary, I see two principles starkly opposed: the principle of 
democracy which, wherever its practical results are evident, is the principle of 
destruction. And the principle of the authority of the individual, which I would 
like to call the principle of achievement, because everything which mankind has 
achieved until now and all human cultures are only conceivable given the rule 
of this principle. 

The value of a people in and of itself, the type of inner organization through 
which this value is to be made effective, and the type of education are the 
starting points for the political action of a people and thus the foundations for 
the results of this action. 

Do not go so far as to believe that a people which has deprived itself of its 
values to the extent the German Volk has would have fared better in former 
centuries, whether there was a world crisis or not. When a people chooses the 
path which we have chosen— practically for the past thirty or thirty-five years, 
but officially for the past thirteen — then it can end nowhere else but where 
Germany is today. The fact that evidence of the crisis has spread throughout 
almost the entire world is understandable when one considers that the 
development of the world has today progressed to an extent, and mutual 
relations have been reinforced in a manner, which seemed scarcely possible fifty, 
eighty or one hundred years ago. But it would nevertheless be wrong to believe 
that this process is only conceivable now, in the year 1932. No, the history of 
the world has witnessed similar things more than once before. Whenever 
particular relations between peoples have led to situations being created 
accordingly, the disease of these peoples has necessarily spread and influenced 
the overall situation. 

It is, of course, easy to say: we prefer to wait until the general situation has 
changed. That is impossible. The situation which you see before you today is 
surely not the consequence of some revelation of God's will, but the result of 
human weaknesses, human errors, human fallacies. It is only natural that, first 
of all, these causes must be transformed and thus mankind committed to an 
internal transformation, before one can count on a change in the situation. 

This follows from a single look at the situation of the world today: we have 
a number of nations which have created for themselves an outlook on life based 
upon their inborn superior value, which bears no relation to the Lebensraum 

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they inhabit in densely populated areas. We have the so-called white race, which 
has, in the course of some thousand years since the collapse of ancient 
civilization, established for itself a privileged position in the world. But I am 
incapable of comprehending the economically privileged supremacy 
(Herrenstellung) of the white race over the rest of the world if I do not view it in 
the closest of connections to a political concept of supremacy which has been 
peculiar to the white race as a natural phenomenon for many centuries and 
which it has upheld as such to the outer world. You can choose any single area, 
take for example India: England did not acquire India in a lawful and legitimate 
manner, but rather without regard to the natives' wishes, views, or declarations 
of rights; and she maintained this rule, if necessary, with the most brutal 
ruthlessness. Just as Cortes or Pizarro demanded for themselves Central 
America and the northern states of South America not on the basis of any legal 
claim, but from the absolute, inborn feeling of superiority (Herrengefiihl) of the 
white race. The settlement of the North American continent was similarly a 
consequence not of any higher claim in a democratic or international sense, but 
rather of a consciousness of what is right which had its sole roots in the 
conviction of the superiority and thus the right of the white race. If I imagine 
things without this frame of mind which, in the course of the last three or four 
centuries of the white race, has conquered the world, then the fate of this race 
would in fact be no other than that, for instance, of the Chinese: an immensely 
congested mass of people in an extraordinarily restricted territory — 
overpopulation with all its inevitable consequences. If Fate allowed the white 
race to take a different path, it was because this white race was of the conviction 
that it had a right to organize the rest of the world. Regardless of what external 
disguise this right assumed in a given case — in reality, it was the exercise of an 
extraordinarily brutal right to dominate (Herrenrecht). From this political view 
there evolved the basis for the economic takeover of the rest of the world. 

A famous Englishman once wrote that the characteristic feature of English 
policy was this miraculous marriage of economic acquisitions with political 
consolidation of power, and conversely the political expansion of power with 
immediate economic appropriation: an interaction which becomes 
inconceivable the moment one of the two factors is lacking. I know, however, 
that the view is held that one can also conquer the world economically. But this 
is one of the greatest and most terrible fallacies there are. Let the English confine 
their struggle for India to economic means; let England relinquish in full the 
attitude with which it once acquired India, an attitude which helped to preserve 
India for England throughout the many rebellions and the long and bloody 
battles in the middle of the last century — and you will see what happens: the 
English factories will not hold India, they will come to a standstill because the 
spirit of old England, the spirit which once laid the necessary groundwork for 
these factories, has been lost! 

Today we are confronted with a world situation which is only comprehensible 
to the white race if one recognizes as indispensable the marriage between the 
concept of domination in political will and the concept of domination 
(Herrensinn) in economic activity, a miraculous consensus which left its mark on 
the whole of the past century and in the consequences of which the white 

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January 27, 1932 

peoples have, in part, undergone a remarkable development: instead of 
expanding in a territorial sense, instead of exporting human beings, they have 
exported goods, have built up a worldwide economic system which manifests 
itself most characteristically in the fact that — given that there are different 
standards of living on this earth — Europe, and most recently, America as well, 
have gigantic central world factories in Europe, and the rest of the world has 
huge markets and sources of raw materials. 

The white race, however, is capable of maintaining its position, practically 
speaking, only as long as discrepancies between the standards of living 
throughout the world remain. If today you were to give our so-called export 
markets the same standard of living we have, you would witness that the 
privileged position of the white race, which is manifested not only in the 
political power of the nation, but also in the economic situation of the 
individual, can no longer be maintained. 

The various nations have now — in accordance with their innate natural 
abilities — safeguarded this privileged position in various ways, perhaps England 
most ingeniously, for she has consistently tapped new markets and immediately 
anchored them in a political sense, so that it is quite conceivable that Great 
Britain — assuming its mental outlook remains unchanged — might develop an 
economic life more or less independent of the rest of the world. Other peoples 
have not attained this goal because they have exhausted their mental powers in 
internal weltanschaulich—iormedy religious— battles. During the great period 
when the world was partitioned they were developing their capacities 
internally, and later they attempted to participate in this world economy; but 
they have never created their own markets and gained complete control of 
these markets. 

When Germany, for example, began to establish colonies, the inner 
conception, this entirely cool, sober, English concept of colonization, had 
already been replaced in part by more or less romantic ideas: the transmission of 
German culture to the world, the spread of German civilization — things which 
the English viewed as far-removed during the colonial period. Thus our practical 
results failed to meet our expectations, aside from the fact that the objects of our 
endeavors were, in part, no longer capable of fulfilling our lofty and romantic 
hopes, particularly since the white race has slowly increased to such numerical 
proportions that the preservation of these gigantic population figures appears 
guaranteed only if the economic world market potential is secured. Thus, in 
reality, one part of the world is absolutely dependent upon maintaining a 
situation which we Germans as democrats and members of the international 
League of Nations have long since rejected in an intellectual sense. The result is 
obvious: competition forced the European peoples to an ever-increasing 
improvement in production, and the increasing improvement in production led 
to a steady economizing in the labor force. As long as the tapping of new 
international markets kept pace, the men who had been dispensed with in 
agriculture and later in the trades could be transferred to the new lines of 
production without further ado, so that we now perceive the characteristic 
features of the last century in that primarily men were being eliminated in 
agriculture and entering the trades; later, in the trades themselves, more and 

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more people fell victim to rationalization in the methods of production and 
then, in turn, found new opportunities to earn a livelihood in an expansion of 
the branches of production. But this process was conceivable only as long as 
there was a constant increase in available sales potential, a potential which had 
to be as large as the increase in production. 

The situation in the world today can be summed up as follows: Germany, 
England, France, and also — for non-imperative reasons — the American Union 
and a whole series of smaller States are industrial nations dependent upon the 
export business. After the end of the War, all of these peoples were confronted 
with a world market practically empty of commodities. Then the industrial and 
manufacturing methods, having become particularly ingenious during the War 
in a scientific and theoretical sense, pounced on this great void and began to 
restructure the factories, invest their capital and, as the inevitable consequence 
of the invested capital, to increase production to the utmost. This process was 
able to work for two, three, four, five years. It could have continued to function 
if new markets had been created which corresponded to the rapid increase and 
improvement in production and its methods — a matter of primary importance, 
for the rationalization of the economy leads, from the beginning of the 
rationalization of basic economy, to a reduction in the human work force, a 
reduction which is only useful if the workers who have been dispensed with can 
easily be transferred in turn to other branches of industry. But we see that since 
the World War there has been no substantial increase in the number of markets; 
quite the opposite, they have shrunken in number because the number of 
exporting nations has slowly been increasing; for a host of former sales markets 
have themselves become industrialized. We see, however, a new major 
exporter — the American Union, which today has perhaps not manifested itself 
ail-powerfully in all sectors, but certainly in individual areas — can count on 
advantages in production which we in Europe do not and cannot possibly 
possess. 

The last and most serious phenomenon we observe is the fact that, parallel to 
the gradual growth of confusion in white European thinking, a Weltanschauung 
has seized hold of a part of Europe and a large part of Asia which threatens to 
actually tear this continent out of the framework of international economic 
relations — a phenomenon which German statesmen even today pass over with an 
astonishing lack of regard. For instance when I hear a speech which stresses: "It 
is necessary that the German Volk stand together!", then I am forced to ask: does 
one really believe that this standing together today is nothing but a question of 
good political will? Do they fail to see that a gulf has already grown in our midst, 
a gulf which is not the mere figment of some people's imaginations, but rather 
whose spiritual exponent today forms the basis for one of the largest world 
powers? That Bolshevism is not only a mob ranting about in a few streets in 
Germany, but a world view which is on the point of subjecting to its rule the 
entire continent of Asia and which today, in the form of a State, stretches almost 
from our eastern border to Vladivostok? 

Here the matter is presented as though these were only the purely 
intellectual problems of isolated visionaries or ill-disposed individuals. No, a 
Weltanschauung has conquered a State and, starting from there, will slowly 



January 27, 1932 

shatter the whole world and bring about its collapse. Bolshevism will, if its 
advance is not halted, expose the world to a transformation as complete as the 
one Christianity once effected. In 300 years people will no longer say: this is a 
new idea in production. In 300 years people might already know that it is almost 
a new religion, though based upon other principles! In 300 years, if this 
movement continues to develop, people will see in Lenin not only a 
revolutionary of the year 1917, but the founder of a new world doctrine, 
worshipped perhaps like Buddha. It is not true that this gigantic phenomenon 
could simply, let us say, be thought away in today's world. It is reality, and must 
of necessity destroy and overthrow one of the basic requirements for our 
continued existence as the white race. We observe the stages of this process: first 
of all, a decline in the level of culture and, with it, of receptivity; a decline in the 
level of humanity as a whole and thus the breaking off of all relations to other 
nations; then the construction of an independent system of production with the 
aid of the crutches of capitalist economy. As the final stage, an independent 
system of production to the complete exclusion of the other countries, which, 
as a matter of course, will one day be faced along their borders with the most 
serious economic competitor. 

I know very well that gentlemen in the Reich Ministry of Defense and 
gentlemen in German industry will counter: we do not believe that the Soviets 
will ever be able to build up an industry genuinely capable of competition. 
Gentlemen, they would never be able to build it solely from Russian, from 
Bolshevist natural resources. But this industry will be built from the resources 
of the white peoples themselves. It is absurd to say: it is not possible to build an 
industry in Russia using the forces of other peoples — it was once possible to 
equip an industry in Bohemia with the help of Germans. And one more thing: 
the Russia of old was already in possession of a certain amount of industry. 

If people go on to argue that the methods of production will never by any 
means be able to keep pace with us, then do not forget that the standard of living 
will more than compensate for any advantages we have due to our methods of 
production. [Hear, hear!) 

We shall, in any event, witness the following development: Bolshevism 
will — if today's way of thinking in Europe and America remains as it is — slowly 
spread throughout Asia. Whether it takes thirty or fifty years is of no 
consequence at all, considering it is a question of Weltanschauungen. 
Christianity did not begin to assert itself throughout the whole of southern 
Europe until 300 years after Christ, and 700 years later it had taken hold of 
northern Europe as well. Weltanschauungen of this fundamental nature can 
manifest their unrestricted capacity for conquest even five hundred years later if 
they are not broken in the beginning by the natural instinct of self-preservation 
of other peoples. But even if this process continues for only thirty, forty or fifty 
years and our frame of mind remains unchanged, then, Gentlemen, one will not 
be able to say: what does that have to do with our economy?! 

Gentlemen, the development is obvious. The crisis is very serious. It forces 
us to economize in every sector. The most natural reduction is always made in 
human labor. The industries will of necessity rationalize more and more; that 
means increasing their productivity and reducing the numbers of their work 

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forces. But when these people can no longer be given places in newly tapped 
professional fields, in newly tapped industries, this means that, in time, three 
people's accounts must be opened: the first is agriculture. Once people were 
economized from this basic account for the second account. This second account 
was the trades, and later industrial production. Now, in turn, one is eliminating 
men from this second account and pushing them into the third account: 
unemployment. In doing so, one is putting on a disgraceful show of glossing 
over reality. It can be best put by saying that those without a means of existence 
are simply regarded as "non-existent," and thus superfluous. The characteristic 
feature of our European nations is that gradually a certain percentage of the 
population is proven superfluous in terms of statistics. Now, it is quite clear that 
the requisite maintenance of this third account is a burden thrust upon the other 
two. This increases the tax pressure, which in turn requires a further 
rationalization of the methods of production, further economization, a further 
increase in the third account. 

In addition, there is the battle for world markets being waged today by all 
European nations with the consequence that this battle naturally affects prices, 
which again leads to a new wave of economizing. The final result, which can 
hardly be foreseen today will, in any case, be decisive for the future or the 
downfall of the white race and, above all, of the peoples who are greatly 
hampered in establishing inner economic autarky due to their territorial 
limitations. The further consequence will be that, for instance, England will 
reorganize her domestic market and erect customs barriers for its protection, 
high ones today and even higher ones tomorrow, and all other peoples who are 
in any way capable of doing so will take the same steps. 

In this sense, all those who claim that Germany's hopeless position is 
particularly indicative of our distress today are right. At the same time, however, 
they are wrong in seeking the distress only in external causes, for this position 
is of course not only the result of external developments, but of our inner, I 
would almost say, aberration, our inner disintegration, our inner decay. 

Let no one say that we National Socialists do not understand the necessity 
of dealing with momentary damage. But one thing is certain: every type of 
distress has some root or another. Thus it does not suffice — regardless, 
Gentlemen, of what emergency decrees the Government issues today — when I 
doctor around on the periphery of this distress and attempt from time to time 
to cut away the cancerous tumor; rather, I must penetrate to the agent, the 
origins. In this connection it is of relatively little significance whether this 
generative cause is discovered or eliminated today or tomorrow; the essential 
thing is that, without its elimination, no cure is possible. It is wrong to reject a 
program covering twenty or thirty years today on the grounds that we cannot 
wait that long — a tuberculosis patient does not care if the treatment his physician 
has recommended to cure his illness lasts three or more years. The essential thing 
is that no purely external remedy, even if it is quickly applied and momentarily 
alleviates his pain, is capable of eliminating the disease as such. We can observe 
this in an absolutely classical form in the consequences of our emergency 
decrees. Again and again the — admittedly honest — attempt is made to somehow 
improve and combat an impossible situation. You see that every attempt, 

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January 27, 1932 

in its final consequence, leads exactly to the opposite: to an increase in the very 
phenomena one is trying to eliminate. In this connection I am willing to leave 
out what is, in my opinion, the greatest problem at this moment, a problem 
which I would like to describe not only as a purely economic one, but also a 
volkisch problem in the truest sense of the word: that of unemployment. 

What one sees are only six or seven million people who are not engaged in 
the process of production; and one regrets, from a purely economic standpoint, 
the loss in production which this causes. 

But, Gentlemen, one fails to see the mental, moral, and spiritual effects of 
this fact. Do they really believe that such a percentage of the national work force 
can lie idle for even ten, twenty, or thirty years without this idleness exercising 
any mental effect, without it leading inevitably to a spiritual change? And do 
they believe that this will have no significance for the future? 

Gentlemen, we know from our own experience that Germany lost the War 
due to a mental aberration whose consequences are today evident practically 
everywhere. Do you believe that, once seven or eight million people are barred 
from taking part in the national process of production for ten or twenty years, 
these masses can perceive of Bolshevism as anything but the logical 
weltanschaulich complement to their actual, practical economic situation? Do 
you really think that one can choose to disregard the purely mental side of this 
catastrophe without it one day becoming reality, an evil curse following the evil 
deed? 

If the German distress could be alleviated by means of emergency decrees, 
then all of the major legislators in the past centuries would have been bunglers; 
for they attempted, under similar circumstances, to regenerate the body politic 
in order that, with the aid of this newly created source of strength, they might 
implement new and healing resolutions. What the current German Government 
wants is of no significance at all, just as it is of no significance what the German 
economy wants or desires. The important thing is to realize that we are 
presently once more in a situation which has already previously arisen in the 
world a number of times: a number of times in the past, the volume of certain 
types of production grew to exceed the parameters of demand. Today we are 
experiencing the same thing to the greatest possible degree: if all automobile 
factories existing in the world now were employed one hundred percent and 
working one hundred percent, then one could replace the entire stock of motor 
vehicles within four and a half or five years. If all locomotive factories were 
employed one hundred percent, one could easily renew all of the locomotive 
parts in the world within eight years. If all of the rail factories and rolling mills 
of the world were employed one hundred percent, one could, perhaps in ten or 
fifteen years, lay the entire network of tracks in the world today once more. 
This applies to almost all industries. One has achieved such an increase in 
productive capacity that the present market potential no longer bears any relation 
to capacity. But when Bolshevism as an ideology tears the continent of Asia out 
of the human economic community, the prerequisites for the employment of 
these gigantically developed industries will no longer exist to nearly the same 
extent. Then we will find ourselves industrially in approximately the same stage 
in which the world has found itself several times before in other areas. It 

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January 27, 1932 

has happened several times before, for instance, that the tonnage of sea-going 
vessels was much larger than the amount of goods requiring carriage. Several 
times before certain economic groups have thus been subjected to severe crises. 
When you read history and study the ways which have been chosen to rectify 
this situation, then you will in short always find one thing: the amount of goods 
was not adjusted to fit the tonnage, the tonnage was adjusted to fit the amount 
of goods — in fact not by voluntary economic resolutions on the parts of the 
shipowners, but rather by decisions of power politics. When a politician or an 
economist objects and says to me: that may have once been the case between 
Rome and Carthage, or between England and Holland or between England and 
France, but today it is business that decides; all I can answer is: that is not the 
spirit which once opened up the world to the white race, which also opened to 
us Germans the way into world economy. It was not the German economy 
which conquered the world, followed by the evolution of Germany's power; 
but in our case, too, it was the power-state which created the basic conditions 
for ensuing prosperity in the economy. (Hear, hear!) In my view, it is putting the 
cart before the horse to believe today that Germany's position of power can be 
recovered using business methods alone instead of realizing that a position of 
power constitutes the prerequisite for an improvement in the economic 
situation as well. That does not mean that the attempt should not be made today 
or tomorrow to combat the disease which has seized our economy, 
notwithstanding the fact that it is not possible to hit the focus of the disease with 
the first blow. But it does mean that each such external solution ignores the root 
of the problem, the fact that there is only one basic solution. 

It rests upon the realization that the collapse of an economy always has as 
its forerunner the collapse of the State and not vice versa; that a prosperous 
economy cannot subsist if it is not backed by the protection of a prosperous, 
powerful State; that there would have been no Carthaginian economy without 
a Carthaginian fleet and no Carthaginian trade without the Carthaginian army; 
and that, in our modern age— when things get rough and the interests of peoples 
clash — it is natural that an economy cannot exist unless the all-powerful, 
determined political will of the nation is standing behind it. 

Here I would like to enter a protest against those who simply dismiss these 
facts by claiming: the Peace Treaty of Versailles is, "in what is almost the general 
opinion," the cause of our misfortune. No, this is certainly not "almost the 
general opinion," but solely the opinion of those who share the blame for its 
having been concluded. {Applause) 

The Peace Treaty of Versailles is itself nothing but the logical consequence 
of our slowly increasing inner, mental confusion and aberration. We happen to 
find ourselves in an age in which the world is approaching extraordinarily 
difficult mental conflicts which will thoroughly shake it up. I cannot avoid these 
conflicts by simply shrugging my shoulders in regret and — without clearly 
realizing their causes — saying: "What we need is unity!" These conflicts are not 
phenomena born merely of the ill will of a few individuals; rather, they are 
phenomena ultimately having their deepest roots in the facts of race. 

If Bolshevism is spreading in Russia today, then ultimately this Bolshevism 
is just as logical for Russia as Czarism was before it. It is a brutal regime ruling 

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over a people which, were it not led by a brutal government, could in no way be 
maintained as a State. But if this world outlook should spread to us as well, we 
must not forget that our Volk, too, is composed racially of the most diverse 
elements, that we thus of necessity must perceive in the slogan "Proletarians of all 
countries, unite!" much more than a mere political battle cry. In reality, it is the 
expression of the will of men who, in their natures, indeed do possess a certain 
kinship with respective peoples of a low level of culture. Our Volk and our State 
were also once built up only through the exercise of the absolute Herrenrecht and 
Herrensinn accruing to the so-called Nordic people, the Arian race elements which 
we still possess in our Volk today. Therefore whether or not we can find our way 
back to new political strength is only a question of regenerating the German body 
politic in accordance with the laws of an iron logic. 

The claim that inner weltanschaulich unity is of no significance can only be 
made by a man who is a specialist in one area or another and therefore no longer 
has an eye for the real living forces which shape the nation — a statesman who 
never gets out of his office and busies himself in his bureaucratic ivory tower, in 
thousands of hours of negotiations and meetings, with the latest effects of the 
crisis, without discovering the major causes and with them the major decisions 
required for their removal. It is quite clear that, by issuing a decree, I can easily 
take a position today on any of the various aspects of public life. But take a look 
at what effect this position can have on the practical side of life! There is no 
organization existing in the world today which does not have as its foundation 
a certain unanimity of purpose. One cannot conceive of an organization which 
does not view certain basic questions which arise repeatedly as requiring an 
absolutely unanimous recognition, affirmation or solution. This applies even to 
the smallest organization there is — the family. No matter how competent a man 
or a woman may be, if certain, necessary, basic questions are not affirmed 
equally by both in their common union, then their competence will not be able 
to prevent their union from becoming a source of perpetual strife and their 
external life from ultimately failing due to this inner discord. Man can only fully 
develop the force of his activities in one direction, and the main question for the 
people as a whole is the direction in which this force is to be guided. Should it 
direct itself outwards, or should it turn inwards? It must turn inward at that 
point when the attitude toward a certain problem is not completely unanimous; 
otherwise the individual will already have become the enemy of his neighbor, 
who effectively constitutes his environment. It is not a matter of indifference 
whether or not an association has and recognizes a set of basic principles. No, 
the decisive factor in judging any human organization is the strength of the inner 
relation, a strength which is based upon the recognition of certain guiding 
general principles. 

In the life of peoples, external strength is determined by the strength of the 
internal organization, but the strength of the internal organization in turn 
depends upon the stability of common views on certain basic matters. What 
good is it if a government issues a decree to save the economy when that nation, 
as a living thing, itself has two completely different attitudes towards the 
economy? One part says: "The prerequisite of the economy is private property," 
while the other claims: "Private property is theft." Fifty percent believe in one 

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principle, fifty percent in the other. You may object by saying that these views 
are pure theory — no, this theory is of necessity the basis for practice. Was this 
view mere theory when, in November 1918, the Revolution broke out as a 
consequence and shattered Germany? Was that a completely insignificant theory 
which, above all, was of no interest to the economy? No, Gentlemen! I believe 
that such views must, if they are not clarified, inevitably tear apart the body 
politic, for they are not simply confined to theory. The Government talks about 
the "vaterlandisch way of thinking," but what does "vaterlandsch way of 
thinking" mean? Ask the German nation! One part supports it, while the other 
declares: "Vaterland is an inane bourgeois tradition and nothing more." The 
Government says: "The State must be saved." The State? Fifty percent regard the 
State as a necessity, but the sole desire of the other fifty percent is to crush the 
State. They are conscious of their role as a vanguard not only of an alien national 
attitude and an alien national concept, but also of an alien national will. I cannot 
say that this is only based on theory. It is not mere theory when fifty percent of 
a people at the most are willing to fight, if necessary, for the symbolic colors, 
while fifty percent have hoisted a different flag representing a State which is not 
their own but lies outside the borders of their own State. 

"The Government will seek to improve the morals of the German Volk." 
Which morals, Gentlemen? Even morals must have some basis. What appears to 
you to be moral appears immoral to others, and what seems immoral to you is 
for others a new morality. The State says, for instance: "Thieves must be 
punished." But countless members of the nation counter: "One must punish the 
owners, for ownership itself comprises theft." The thief is glorified more than 
anything else. One half of the nation says: "Traitors must be punished," but the 
other half holds: "Treason is a duty." One half says: "The nation must be 
defended with courage," and the other half regards courage as idiotic. One half 
says: "The basis of our morality is religious life," and the other half sneers: "The 
concept of a God does not exist in reality. Religions are merely the opium of the 
people." 

Do not ever think that once a people has been seized by these conflicts of 
Weltanschauung one can simply circumvent them by means of emergency 
decrees, that one can delude oneself into believing that there is no need to take 
a stand on them because they involve things which concern neither the 
economy, nor administrative life, nor cultural life! Gentlemen, these conflicts 
affect the power and the strength of the nation as a whole! How can a people 
actually constitute a factor of any significance abroad when, in the final analysis, 
fifty percent are Bolshevist-oriented and fifty percent nationalistic or anti- 
Bolshevist-oriented? It is conceivable that Germany can be turned into a 
Bolshevist State — it will be a catastrophe — but it is conceivable. It is also 
conceivable that Germany can be turned into a national State. But it is 
inconceivable that a strong and healthy Germany can be created if fifty percent 28 
of its members are Bolshevist-oriented and fifty percent are nationalist-oriented! 
(Hear, hear!) We cannot get around solving this problem! {Animated applause) 

If today's Government declares: "But we are industrious, we are working, 
this last emergency decree cost us so and so many hundreds of hours of 
sessions" (amusement), then I do not doubt what they say. That does not, 

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however, mean that the nation will become even the slightest bit stronger or 
more stable; the process of inner decay will continue unceasingly on its inevitable 
course. But the consequence to which this path will finally lead is something you 
then again can see only if you take a very large mental leap: once, as the first 
prerequisite for the organization of our Volk on a large scale, Germany had a 
weltanschaulich foundation in our religion, Christianity 29 When this 
weltanschaulich foundation was shaken, we see how the strength of the nation 
turned away from external things and toward the internal conflicts, for the nature 
of man forces him, as a matter of inner necessity, to seek a new common 
foundation at that point at which the common weltanschaulich foundation is lost 
or attacked. These are then the great ages of civil wars, religious wars, etc. — 
conflicts and confusions in which either a new weltanschaulich platform can be 
found and thereupon a nation erected anew, a nation which can turn its strength 
outwards, or in which a people becomes split and falls into ruin. In Germany, this 
process ran its course in an absolutely classical form. The religious conflicts 
meant a withdrawal of the entire German strength inwards, an internal absorbing 
and exhausting of strength and thus automatically a gradual increase in an attitude 
of no-longer- reacting to major world events in foreign countries, while these meet 
with a completely passive people, because at the same time this people has inner 
tensions which urgently require a solution. 

It is incorrect to say: world politics and the world situation alone 
determined Germany's fate in the sixteenth century. No, our internal situation 
at that time played a helping role in shaping the image of the world which later 
caused us so much suffering: the partitioning of the world without Germany. 

In a second, really magnificant example from history, this process is 
repeated: in order to replace the lacking religious unity — for both religions are 
finally frozen fast, neither is now capable of overcoming the other — a new 
platform is found: the new concept of the State, first of legitimist character and 
later slowly passing to an age of the national principle and colored by it. It is on 
this new platform that Germany once more unites; and, piece by piece, with this 
unification process, a Reich which had fallen into decline as a result of the old 
confusions automatically and once more lastingly increases its strength in the 
external world. This increase in strength led to those days in August 1914 which 
we had the proud good fortune of experiencing firsthand. A nation which 
apparently had no internal differences and thus was able to channel its entire 
strength outwards! And in scarcely four and a half years, we see the process 
reverting. The inner differences become visible, they slowly begin to grow, and 
gradually the external strength is crippled. The inner conflict once more takes 
on urgency; in the end comes the collapse of November 1918. In reality, this 
means nothing other than that the German nation was once more investing its 
entire strength in inner conflicts — externally, it was relapsing into complete 
lethargy and powerlessness. 

But it would be quite mistaken to believe that this process was confined only 
to those days in November 1918. The weltanschaulich disintegration set in at the 
very time when Bismarck was powerfully uniting Germany. Citizens and 
proletarians began to take the place of men from Prussia, Bavaria, 

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Wiirttemberg, Saxony, Baden, etc. In place of a many-facetted disintegration, 
which is overcome politically, the classes begin to split, leading ultimately to the 
same result. For the remarkable feature of the former disintegration of the State 
was that Bavarians would, under certain circumstances, tend to cooperate more 
readily with non-Germans than with Prussians. That means that relations with 
the outside were regarded as more feasible than relations with one's own 
German Volksgenossen. Exactly the same result is coming about now by means 
of the class division. Once again a mass of millions has ceremoniously declared 
that it is more willing to take up relations to men and organizations who think 
similarly and have a similar outlook but are members of a foreign people, than 
to enter into relations with men of its own Volk who are of the same blood but 
think differently. This is the only explanation for the fact that today you can see 
the red flag with the sickle and hammer — the flag of an alien sovereign power — 
waving over Germany; the fact that there are millions of people to whom one 
cannot say: "You, too, are Germans — you, too, must defend Germany!" If these 
men were willing to do this as in 1914, they would be compelled to renounce 
their Weltanschauung; for it is thoroughly absurd to believe that Marxism 
would have been converted to the national cause in 1914. No! The German 
worker, with an intuitive realization, turned away from Marxism in 1914 and, 
contrary to his leaders, 30 found his way to the nation. (Lively applause) Marxism 
itself, as concept and idea, knows no German nation, knows no national State, 
but knows only the Internationale! 

I can thus state one fact today: no matter what the legislature does — 
particularly by means of decrees and most of all by means of emergency decrees — 
if Germany is unable to master this inner division of outlook and 
Weltanschauung, then no amount of legislative measures will be able to prevent 
the ruin of the German nation. (Hear, hear.!) Indeed, do not believe, Gentlemen, 
that in ages in which peoples have fallen into ruin as demonstrated by history, the 
governments were not governing! At the same time Rome was slowly 
disintegrating, the governments were certainly active. Yes, I would almost like to 
say that the rapidity with which a legislative machine functions seems to me to be 
almost proof of the disintegration of a Volkskorper (body politic). (Hear, hear!) One 
merely attempts to veil the existing inner division and the degree of disintegration 
from the outside world by means of the legislative rotary machine. Today the 
situation is no different. And do not believe that any government would ever have 
admitted that its work was not conducive toward saving the nation. Fach of them 
naturally protested against the view that its activities were not absolutely 
necessary; each was convinced that no one else could have done it better than 
itself. You will never, in the history of the world, find a general who, no matter 
how high the number of battles on his debit account, was not convinced that no 
one could have done better than he. (Amused laughter) But the essential fact will 
always remain that, in the end, it is not immaterial in the least whether the Herzog 
von Braunschweig or Gneisenau is commanding the army; whether a system 
confines its attempts to save the nation to emergency decrees or whether a new 
mental outlook inspires a Volk inwardly and leads it back to life, back to being a 
vital, living factor, and away from being the dead object of legislative machinery. 

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January 27, 1932 

(Animated applause) It is not immaterial whether, in the future, you simply 
attempt to bring the most obvious manifestations of the crisis under control in 
Germany by means of a legislation more or less trimmed with a border of 
constitutionality, or whether you lead the nation itself back to internal strength. 

And when this system 31 objects and says to me that there is no time left for 
that now— it is true, meine Herren, that far too much time has been wasted on 
unproductive work, far too much time has already been lost. One could have 
initiated the regeneration process in 1919, and in the past eleven years Germany 
would have undergone a different external development. For it was only 
possible to impose the Peace Treaty upon us in the form chosen because at the 
time it was being drawn up, Germany had totally ceased being a factor of any 
weight whatsoever. (Hear, hear!) And the results of this Peace Treaty took on 
those forms we know and have experienced only because, in all these years, no 
Germany with any kind of definite and perceptible will of its own existed. Thus 
we are not the victims of the treaties, but rather the treaties are the 
consequences of our own mistakes; and I must, if I wish to improve the 
situation at all, first change the value of the nation again. Above all, I must 
recognize one thing: it is not the primacy of foreign politics which can 
determine our actions at home, but rather the character of our actions at home 
that determines the character of our successes in foreign policy, yes, and even 
our very objectives. (Hear, hear!) 

I may cite two examples of this from history: firstly, Bismarck's idea of a 
conflict between Prussia and the House of Habsburg, the construction of a new 
Empire by ousting Austria, an idea which never would have become reality had 
not — before the attempt was made to put it into action — the instrument been 
created with which the political objectives could have practically been turned 
into reality. It was not the political situation which forced Prussia to decide to 
reorganize its Army; rather, the reorganization of the Prussian Army which 
Bismarck far-sightedly carried through against the resistance of parliamentary 
madness first made the political situation possible which came to an end in 
Koniggratz and established in Versailles the Empire which, because it gradually 
came to be founded on other principles, was later once more destroyed and 
partitioned in the very same chamber at Versailles. 

And vice versa: if today a German government attempts, along the lines of 
Bismarck's ideas, to take the path of that age and, perhaps as forerunner of a 
German policy of unification, attempts to establish a new Zollverein, a customs 
union, then formulating this aim is not the important thing, but rather the 
important thing is what preparations one undertakes in order to make the 
implementation of this aim possible. I cannot formulate an aim which, 
supported by the press campaign of one's own papers, is understood throughout 
the world to be a political aim of utmost importance unless I secure for myself 
the political means which are absolutely essential for the implementation of this 
type of plan. 

And the political means — today I can no longer view them as limited — can 
lie only in the reorganization of an army. Ultimately, it is completely irrelevant 
whether Germany has an army 100,000 or 200,000 or 300,000 strong; the main 
thing is whether Germany has eight million reservists whom it can transfer to 

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the army without heading toward the same weltanschaulich catastrophe as that 
of 1918. 32 (Hear, hear!) 

The essential thing is the formation of a political will of the entire nation; 
this is the starting point for political action. If this formation of will is 
guaranteed in the sense of a willingness to commit oneself to some national 
objective or other, then a government that is supported by this formation of will 
can also choose those paths which one day may lead to success. However, if this 
formation of will does not take place, every power in the world will test the 
chances of such an undertaking on the strength of the means at its disposal to 
back it. And one will surely be aware of the fact that a government which rouses 
itself to exhibit such a great national show externally but is, internally, 
dependent upon the shifting forces of Marxist-Democratic-Centrist party views, 
will never be capable of really fighting to carry through this plan to the very last. 
(Hear, hear!) Let no one say: this is simply a case in which all are standing 
together as one man. This standing together of all as one man can only then be 
attained when all share one single opinion. The phrase "March divided, fight 
united" exists only in terms of the army because in an army with a single 
supreme command, the order to march divided is followed in exactly the same 
way as the order to fight united, because both stem from one and the same root 
of command. But I cannot simply allow armies to run around side by side as 
complete strangers and then expect, upon some signal which a high-and-mighty 
government deigns to give them, that they will suddenly harmonize 
wonderfully and initiate a joint maneuver. (Hear, hear!) 

That is impossible! And it is simply impossible for the further reason that, 
ultimately, the catastrophe lies not so much in the existence of different points 
of view, but rather foremost in the fact of the State's licensing these differences. 

If today they wish to hurl the worst accusation at me as a National Socialist, 
then they say: "You want to bring about a decision in Germany by violence, and 
we must oppose that. You want to one day destroy your political opponents in 
Germany! We, on the other hand, stand for the precepts of the Constitution and 
must thus guarantee all parties their right to exist." To that I have only one 
reply: translated into reality, this means: "You have a company. You must lead 
this company against the enemy. Within the company there is complete liberty 
to form a coalition." (Amused laughter) Fifty percent of the company have 
formed a coalition based upon love and defense of the Vaterland, the other fifty 
percent based upon a pacifist Weltanschauung: they reject war as a matter of 
principle, demand the inviolability of freedom of conscience, declare it to be the 
highest and only virtue we have today. (Amused laughter) But if it does come to 
a fight, they want to stand together. (More amused laughter) But should one 
man — insisting on freedom of conscience — desert to the enemy, then the absurd 
situation would arise where you would have to place him under arrest and 
punish him as a deserter, while completely forgetting that you actually have no 
right to punish him. A State which allows the view to circulate — with license 
from the State — that treason to the Vaterland is a duty; which tolerates that large 
organizations calmly state: it will be our task to put a simple stop to any military 
action in the event of war — what right does that State have to punish a traitor to 
the Vaterland? Of course it is only incidental that such a State itself carries the 

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madness of this view ad absurdum, for the man who would otherwise have been 
branded a criminal now will become a martyr for one half of the nation. Why? 
Because this same State, which, on the one hand, declares the theory of treason 
to one's country an ethical and moral theory and protects it, has the audacity, 
on the other, to imprison a person who attempts to transpose this view from the 
sphere of theory into practice. 

Gentlemen! All this is impossible, completely impossible, if one at all 
believes that a people, in order to survive, must direct its strength outwards. But 
take a look at the situation today: seven or eight million employed in 
agriculture; seven or eight million employed in industry; six or seven million 
unemployed! Consider that, in all human probability, nothing at all will change 
in this respect, and you will be forced to admit that Germany as a whole cannot 
survive in the long run— unless, that is, we find our way back to a truly 
extraordinary, newly-shaped political strength working from within but having 
the capacity of making us effective once more vis-a-vis the outside world. 

For it does not matter at all which of the problems of our volkisch life we 
wish to attempt to solve: if we wish to maintain our export trade, then here as 
well the political will of the nation as a whole will one day have to take a serious 
stand to prevent us from being thrust aside by the interests of other peoples. If 
we wish to build up a new domestic market or if we wish to solve the problem 
of our Lebensraum: whatever the case, we will always need the collective political 
strength of the nation. Yes, even if we want to be valued merely as allies — 
beforehand we must make Germany a political power factor. But that will never 
be achieved by bringing a proposal before the Reichstag that negotiations be 
initiated for procuring a few heavy batteries, eight or ten tanks, twelve aircraft, 
or, as far as I'm concerned, even a few squadrons — that is entirely irrelevant! 
Throughout the history of peoples, technical weapons have undergone 
continual changes. But what had to remain unchanging was the formation of 
will. It is the constant factor and the prerequisite for everything else. Should it 
fail, no number of weapons can help. On the contrary: if you were to summon 
the German Volk to a levee en masse and place weapons at its disposal for this 
purpose — tomorrow the result would be civil war, not a fight against the 
external world. Practical foreign politics can no longer be implemented with 
today's body politic. Or do you believe that Bismarck would have been able to 
fulfill his historic mission with today's Germany, that the German Empire 
would have emerged from this state of mind? 

In stating this, I am still a long way from confronting today's system with 
the claim that one should, for instance, remain silent and inactive in the face of 
individual incidents; rather, my claim is that an ultimate solution is only possible 
when the internal disintegration in terms of classes is overcome once more in the 
future. When I say this, I am not being a pure theoretician. When I returned to 
the homeland in 1918, 1 was faced with a situation which I, just as all the others, 
could have accepted as a given fact. It is my firm conviction that a large part of 
the German nation was of the unequivocal opinion in those November and 
December days of 1918, and even in 1919, that were Germany to continue on its 
path in terms of domestic policy, it would be heading rapidly towards its 
downfall in terms of foreign policy. In other words, the same opinion I held. 

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January 27, 1932 

There was only one difference. At that time I said to myself: it is not enough to 
merely recognize that we are ruined; rather, it is also necessary to comprehend 
why! And even that is not enough; rather, it is necessary to declare war on this 
destructive development and to create the instrument necessary to do so. 
[Bravo!) 

One thing was clear to me: the world of the parties up to that time had 
shattered Germany, and Germany was broken by this. It is absurd to believe 
that the factors whose existence is inseparably bound up in history with 
Germany's disintegration can now suddenly be factors in its recovery. Each 
organization becomes not only the personification of a certain spirit; in the end, 
it even symbolizes a certain tradition. If then, for example, associations or 
parties have almost made it a tradition of retreating in the face of Marxism for 
sixty years, I do not believe that, after the most horrible defeat, they will 
suddenly break with a tradition which has become second nature to them and 
transform their retreat into an attack; what I do believe is that the retreat will 
continue. Yes, one day these associations will go the way of all organizations 
which suffer repeated defeats: they will enter pacts with the opponent and 
attempt to attain by peaceful methods what could not be won by fighting. 

Granted, given a cool and considered view, I did have to say to myself in 
1918: certainly it is a terribly difficult course to present myself to the nation and 
form a new organization for myself. Actually, it would naturally be much easier 
to enter one of the existing formations and attempt to overcome the inner gulf 
dividing the nation from there. But is this at all possible in the existing 
organizations? Does not each organization ultimately have in it the spirit and the 
people who find satisfaction in its program and its struggle? If an organization 
has, in the course of sixty years, continually retreated before Marxism and 
finally one day simply capitulated like a coward, is it not then necessarily filled 
with a spirit and with people who neither understand nor are prepared to take 
the other path? Is it not so that the opposite is true, that in such an age of 
confusion the future will simply consist of once again sieving through the body 
politic which has fallen into disorder; that a new political leadership will 
crystallize from within the Volk which knows how to take the mass of the 
nation in its fist and thereby avoids the mistakes which led to downfall in the 
past? Of course I had to say to myself that the struggle would be a terrible one! 
For I was not so fortunate as to possess a prominent name; instead, I was nothing 
but a German soldier, nameless, with a very small zinc number on my breast. 
But I came to one realization: if, beginning with the smallest cell, a new body 
politic did not form in the nation which could overcome the existing "ferments 
of decomposition," 33 then the nation as a whole would never itself be able to 
experience an uprising. We have practically already experienced it once. It took 
more than 150 34 years until Prussia, the germ cell of a new Empire, arose out of 
the old disintegrated Empire to fulfill its historic mission. And believe me: the 
question of the inner regeneration of a Volk is no different in the least. Each idea 
must recruit its own people. Each idea must step out before the nation, must win 
over the fighters it needs from its midst and must tread alone the difficult path 
with all its necessary consequences, in order to one day achieve the strength to 
change the course of destiny. 

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January 27, 1932 

Developments have proven that this reasoning was right in the end. For 
even if there are many in Germany today who believe that we National 
Socialists are incapable of constructive work — they are deceiving themselves! If 
we did not exist, Germany today would no longer have a bourgeoisie. (Hear, 
hear!) The question, "Bolshevism or no Bolshevism" would long have been 
decided! Take the weight of our gigantic organization — this greatest organization 
by far in the new Germany — off the scales of national events and you will see 
that, without us, Bolshevism would already tip the scales now — a fact best 
evidenced by the attitude which Bolshevism has toward us. It is a great honor to 
me when Herr Trotsky calls upon German Communism today to cooperate 
with the Social Democratics at any price because National Socialism is to be 
regarded as the only real danger to Bolshevism. And it is an even greater honor 
for me because in twelve years, starting with nothing at all and in opposition to 
the overall public opinion at the time, in opposition to the press, in opposition 
to capital, in opposition to the economy, in opposition to the administration, in 
opposition to the State: in short, in opposition to everything, we built up our 
Movement, a Movement which can no longer be eliminated today, which exists, 
on which one must have an opinion whether one wants to or not. (Cheers of 
approval) And I believe that this opinion actually must be quite clear to anyone 
who still believes in a German future. You see before you an organization which 
does not only preach the theory of the realizations I characterized as being 
essential at the beginning of my speech, but which puts them into practice; an 
organization filled with the utmost national sentiment, based on the idea of the 
absolute authority of leadership in every field, on all levels — the only party 
which has, in itself, totally overcome not only the international idea but the 
democratic idea as well; which, through its organization, acknowledges only 
responsibility, command and obedience and which thus for the first time 
integrates into the political life of Germany a phenomenon of millions united in 
upholding the principle of achievement. An organization which fills its 
followers with an unrestrained aggressive spirit (Kampfsinn); for the first time, an 
organization which, when a political opponent declares: "We take your 
behavior to be a provocation," is not satisfied to suddenly withdraw, but 
brutally enforces its own will and hurls back at him: "We are fighting today! We 
will fight tomorrow! And if you regard our meeting today as a provocation, 
then we'll hold another one next week — and will continue until you have 
learned that it is not a provocation when the German Germany professes its 
will! And if you say, "You may not go out on the streets" — we will go out on 
the streets in spite of it! And if you say, "Then we will beat you" — no matter how 
many sacrifices you force us to make, this young Germany will always march 
again, it will one day completely win back the German streets, the German 
individual. And when people reproach us for our intolerance, we are proud of 
it — yes, we have even made the inexorable decision to exterminate Marxism in 
Germany down to its very last root. We made this decision not because we are 
pugnacious — I, for one, could imagine a life made up of nicer things than being 
chased through Germany, being persecuted by countless decrees, standing 
constantly with one foot in prison, and having no right I can call my own in the 
State. I could imagine a better fate than that of fighting a battle which, at least 

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January 27, 1932 

in the beginning, was regarded by everyone as a mad chimera. And lastly, I 
believe that I also have the capability of taking on some sort of post in the Social 
Democratic Party, and one thing is certain: had I placed my capabilities at its 
service, today I would presumably even be fit to govern. But for me it was a 
greater decision to choose a path along which nothing guided me but my own 
faith and an indestructible confidence in the natural powers of our Volk — which 
are certainly still present — and its significance, which will one day of necessity 
once more manifest itself, given the right leadership. 

Now a twelve-year struggle lies behind us. We did not wage this battle in 
purely theoretical terms or put it into practice only in our own party; rather, we 
are also willing to wage it on a large scale at any time. If I reflect back to the time 
when I founded this association together with six other unknown men, when I 
spoke before 11, 20, 30, or 50 people, when, in the space of one year, I had won 
64 people over to the Movement, when our small circle expanded steadily— then 
I must confess that that which has come about today, when a stream of millions 
of German Volksgenossen flows into our Movement, represents something 
unique, standing alone in German history. For seventy years the bourgeois 
parties have had time to work. Where is the organization which could compare 
itself to ours? Where is the organization which could point out, as ours can, that 
if necessary, it can bring 400,000 men out on the streets, men who carry within 
them a sense of blind obedience, who follow every order — as long as it is not 
against the law? Where is the organization which has achieved in seventy years 
what we have achieved in barely twelve — with means which were so improvised 
that one would almost have to be ashamed to confess to the opponents how 
pitiful the birth and growth of this great Movement once was. 

Today we are at the turning-point in German destiny. If the present 
development continues, Germany will one day of necessity result in Bolshevist 
chaos; however, if this development is brought to an end, our Volk must be sent 
to a school of iron discipline and gradually cured from the preconceptions of 
both camps. A hard lesson, but one which we cannot avoid! 

If one believes that the concepts of "bourgeois" and "proletarian" can be 
conserved, then one is either conserving German impotence and thus our 
downfall, or one is ushering in the victory of Bolshevism. If one is not 
willing to abandon these concepts, then it is my conviction that a recovery 
of the German nation is no longer possible. The chalk line which the 
Weltanschauungen have drawn for peoples throughout the history of the 
world has more than once been the death line. Either the attempt to reshape 
a body politic hard as iron from this conglomerate of parties, associations, 
organizations, world outlooks, arrogance of rank, and class madness is 
successful, or else Germany will perish once and for all for lack of this inner 
consolidation. Even if another twenty emergency decrees were sent to hail 
down on our Volk, they would be unable to alter the main course leading 
to our ruin! If one day the way which leads upwards is to be found again, 
then first of all the German Volk must be bent back into shape. That is a 
process no one can escape! It does no good to say: "The proletarians are the 
only ones to blame for that!" No, believe me, our entire German Volk, 
every single class, has more than its share of the blame 

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January 27, 1932 

for our collapse; some because they willed it and intentionally tried to bring it 
about; the others because they looked on and were too weak to prevent it! In 
history, failure weighs just as heavily as the intention or the deed itself. Today 
no one can escape the obligation to bring about the regeneration of the German 
Volkskorper by means of his own personal contribution and integration. 

When I speak to you today, then it is not with the aim of moving you to 
cast your ballots or inducing you to do this or that for the party on my account. 
No, I am presenting an outlook to you here, and I am convinced that the victory 
of this outlook constitutes the only possible starting point for a German 
recovery; at the same time it is also the very last asset which the German Volk 
possesses. I have heard it often said by our opponents: "You, too, will be unable 
to master today's crisis." Assuming, Gentlemen, that that were the case. Then 
what would that mean? It would mean that we were approaching an appalling 
age and would have nothing with which to counter it but a purely materialistic 
attitude on all sides. The crisis, however, would be experienced a thousand times 
more strongly as a purely materialistic matter, without some ideal having been 
restored to the Volk. (Animated applause) 

People so often say to me: "You are only the drummer of national 
Germany!" And what if I were only the drummer?! Today it would be a greater 
statesmanlike deed to drum a new faith into this German Volk than to slowly 
squander away the one they have now. (Cheers of approval) You take a fortress 
and subject it to the harshest of privations: as long as its garrison can envision 
salvation, believes in it, hopes for it — it can bear reduced rations. Completely 
remove from the hearts of these people their last faith in the possibility of 
salvation, in a better future, and you will witness how these people suddenly 
come to view reduced rations as the most important thing in their lives. The 
more they are made conscious of the fact that they are mere objects of trade, 
mere prisoners of world politics, the more they will turn exclusively to material 
interests, like any prisoner. Conversely, the more you lead a people back to the 
sphere of ideal faith, the more it will come to regard material distress as a less 
exclusively determinant factor. The most tremendous proof of this has been our 
own German Volk. Surely we never want to forget that it waged religious wars 
for 150 years with an enormous sense of devotion, that hundreds of thousands 
of people once left their own plot of land and all their worldly goods for the sake 
of an ideal and a conviction! We never want to forget that for 150 years there 
arose not a single ounce of material interest! And then you will comprehend 
how tremendous the power of an idea, of an ideal, can be! And only in this light 
can one understand that today hundreds of thousands of young people in our 
Movement are willing to risk their lives to combat the opponent. I know very 
well, Gentlemen, that when National Socialists march through the streets, and 
the evening is suddenly pierced by commotion and racket, then citizens draw 
open their curtains, look out and say: "My night's rest has been disturbed again 
and I can't sleep. Why do the Nazis always have to agitate and run around at 
night?" Gentlemen, if everyone would think that way, then one would have 
one's peace at night, but citizens would no longer be able to go out on the streets 
today. If everyone would think that way, if these young people had no ideal to 
motivate them and propel them forwards, then of course they would gladly 

113 



January 27, 1932 

manage without these nocturnal battles. But let us not forget that it is a sacrifice 
when today many hundreds of thousands of SA and SS men of the National 
Socialist Movement climb onto trucks every day, protect meetings, put on 
marches, sacrifice night after night and return only at daybreak — and then either 
back to the workshop and factory or out to collect their pittance as unemployed; 
when they buy their uniforms, their shirts, their badges, and even pay their own 
transportation from what little they have — believe me, that is already a sign of 
the power of an ideal, a great ideal! And if today the entire German nation had 
the same faith in its calling which these hundreds of thousands have, if the entire 
nation possessed this idealism — Germany would stand differently in the eyes of 
the world today! (Animated applause) For our situation in the world results, in 
its devastating effects for us, only from the fact that we ourselves underrate 
German strength. [Hear, hear!) Only when we have revised this disastrous 
assessment can Germany make use of the political possibilities of once more — if 
we look far into the future — placing German life on a natural and sound 
foundation: either new Lebensraum and the expansion of a large domestic 
market or the protection of German economy against the outside by deploying 
accumulated German strength. The labor resources of our Volk, the capabilities 
are there, no one can deny our industriousness. But first the political 
foundations must be laid anew: without them, industriousness, capability, 
diligence, and thrift would ultimately be of no avail. For an oppressed nation is 
not capable of allocating the profits accruing from its thrift to its own welfare; 
rather, it is forced to sacrifice them on the altar of blackmail and tribute. 

Thus, in contrast to our official 35 Government, I regard the vehicle for 
German recovery not as being the primacy of German foreign policy, but rather 
as being the primacy of the restoration of a healthy, national and powerful 
German body politic. It was in order to accomplish this task that I founded the 
National Socialist Movement thirteen years ago and have led it for the past 
twelve years; and I hope that it will also accomplish this task in days to come, 
that it will leave behind it the best reward for its struggle: a German body politic 
completely regenerated from within, intolerant against anyone who sins against 
the nation and its interests, intolerant against anyone who will not acknowledge 
its vital interests or opposes them, intolerant and relentless against anyone who 
endeavors to destroy and subvert this Volkskorper — and otherwise open to 
friendship and peace with anyone who wants friendship and peace! (Tumultuous, 
long, drawn-out applause) 



114 



February 2, 1932 



Hitler had made good use of January 1932, but the parties of the 
Weimar Republic (Social Democrats, Center, and the German State 
Party) had not been idle in the meantime: they had reached consensus 
and jointly nominated Hindenburg as their candidate for the election to 
Reich President. 36 

Hitler bided his time. According to Goebbels' diary, 37 he made the 
decision on February 2 to run for the office of Reich President. 
However, this was merely the date on which he disclosed his intentions 
to Goebbels. As early as January 30, a cry had rung out from the gallery 
at an NSDAP rally in the Berlin Sportpalast demanding: "Hitler should 
be Reich President!" Predictably, the Volkischer Beobachter made a great 
issue of this incident. 38 Hitler had obviously already begun to popularize 
his candidacy. The two speeches he delivered in Berlin on February 9 
and 10 also served this purpose: there he spoke before 15,000 Berlin SA 
men in the Sportpalast 39 and, the following day, before Berlin SS, HJ and 
student formations in the same arena. 40 

The official announcement of Hitler's candidacy was delayed. First 
he intended to exploit the propaganda value of the question of his 
citizenship. In 1925 he had surrendered his Austrian citizenship, fearing 
that he might be deported back to Austria as an undesirable alien. As a 
result, he was now a "stateless person. 41 

On the other hand, it is highly probable that, had he filed an 
application for citizenship during the 1920's, Hitler would have been 
turned down, for — at the very least — those Lander governed by the 
Social Democrats would have raised their objections. 

The Weimar Constitution stipulated that candidates for the office of 
Reich President were to be German citizens. Recorded evidence of 
Hitler's cautious initial attempts to obtain citizenship date back to 1929, 
and it is safe to assume that he already entertained plans to run for 

115 



February 10, 1932 

president at that time if, for instance, premature elections were to prove 
necessary due to the death of Hindenburg, who was already over eighty. 
Hitler sent out feelers to Dr. Stutzel (BVP), Bavarian Minister of the 
Interior, via Wilhelm Frick 42 and the National Socialist deputy, Dr. 
Buttmann, to ascertain whether an application for naturalization would 
have any chance of success. The Bavarian Council of Ministers 
deliberated on the matter, 43 and Stutzel gave a negative reply. 

According to German law 44 there was another way to obtain 
citizenship: by being appointed a civil servant. When Dr. Wilhelm Frick 
became the first National Socialist Minister in Thuringia in 1930, he 
immediately sought to effect Hitler's naturalization through these 
channels and drew up a document appointing Hitler Gendarmeriekommis- 
sar (Gendarme Commissar) in Hildburghausen. Although Frick later 
claimed that the appointment had been made without Hitler's knowledge, 
it is difficult to believe that this is true and that Hitler, enraged at such an 
offer, even "tore up" the document. It is much more probable that Hitler 
kept the document in his desk in case of emergency: should Hindenburg 
suddenly die and new elections be scheduled, it might no longer be 
possible, even in a Land under National Socialist rule, to obtain 
citizenship at short notice in time to run for office. And in this case Hitler 
undoubtedly would have made an appearance, armed with the Thuringian 
document to prove that he had been a German citizen since 1930. 
However, in 1932 he considered it opportune to make no further ado of 
this matter but to choose more official channels to achieve his goal. At 
that time, only one German Land was governed with the participation of 
National Socialists: Brunswick. 45 Evidently, this Land was destined to 
become the scene of Hitler's forced naturalization. 

However, Hitler felt that this act required a preparatory propaganda 
campaign, particularly since the 1930 attempt at procuring citizenship 
had just circulated in the press. Dr. Frick had been forced to declare in 
the Volkischer Beobachter on February 10 46 that he had made the 
proposal in question only because Stutzel had declared that any 
application Hitler filed would have been to no avail. 

The same issue of the Volkischer Beobachter contained the text of a 
speech delivered in Leipzig by the Chief of Police in Berlin, Grzesinski 
(SPD). He was quoted there as saying that, in his opinion, it was a 
disgrace that Hitler was not chased out of Germany with a dog whip. 47 
In contrast, the National Socialist newspapers en masse lamented 
throughout February that it was a shame to deny Hitler— the old front- 
line soldier, the national pioneer— the right to hold German citizenship. 

116 



February 12, 1932 

On February 12, the German National People's Party issued a 
statement in support of Hitler's naturalization. 48 Two days later, Hitler 
took the opportunity presented at a convention of party leaders in 
Munich for the Gau of Munich and Upper Bavaria to accuse the Social 
Democrats of being responsible for refusing to grant him citizenship. 
On February 14, he stated: 49 

Miracles have taken place. Field Marshal von Hindenburg is presently being 
made out to be the only possible candidate for the presidency by Crispien, Barth 
and company. 50 These are the fruits of our educational efforts; I would not ever 
have thought that the Social Democratic Party would become so patriotic, so 
militaristic. The results of our educational efforts are also evident in other areas: 
the acute sense which the Social Democratic Party has today for what is national 
and what is non-national, for what is German and what is non-German; for 
what is native and what is alien; for which side of the border one is born on ... 
this acute sense which somehow does not really seem to fit in with its 
international outlook ... this, too, is a result of our educational efforts. 

On February 15, when Hindenburg had declared his consent to run 
for office, i.e. to being reelected, Hitler issued the following 
proclamation to the NSDAP: 51 

Munich, February 15 
National Socialists! 

As a final attempt to rescue the disastrous Weimar system, the parties of the 
black-red coalition, who are hopelessly in the minority, have decided to propose 
Field Marshal von Hindenburg's reelection to the office of Reich President. In 
this way the policy of collapse, which received its final justification in the Young 
Plan 52 and the emergency decrees, is to be carried on. National Germany will 
reply in the only way possible: 

the National Socialist Movement must, true to its fight against the system, 
reject this candidacy. The hour of settling with the November Men has thus 
arrived. We regret that Field Marshal von Hindenburg was moved to allow his 
name to be misused in this fight. 

Adolf Hitler 

Still, Hitler refrained from announcing his own intention to run for 
office. Before doing so, he wanted to drum up more popular support in 
the ranks of the workers and peasants. 

For this purpose he delivered a speech in a Diisseldorf machine 
works on February 16, addressing an alleged 26,000 workers. This move 
was designed to compensate for the somewhat negative impression 
which word of his speech at the Diisseldorf Industry Club had created 
among the working force three weeks earlier. 

117 



February 16, 1932 

On the same day, Hitler called upon all Germans to secure the 1932 
harvest. 53 This appeal bore the title, "The German Harvest of 1932 in 
Danger," and read as follows: 

NSK Munich, February 16 

An Appeal from the Fiihrer 

The precondition for the independence of the German State is the 
possibility of being able to provide sufficient food for the German Volk from 
native German soil. The German agriculture and horticulture industry, if intact, 
is in a position to guarantee the vitally necessary self-sufficiency of the German 
Volk's food supply. The present system has left German agriculture and 
German horticulture to hopeless decay. Overindebted and in spiritual despair, 
the German farmers and gardeners no longer know where to look for the means 
to till the fields in the spring as usual; considerable reductions in the amount of 
seed are already being contemplated. But this gives rise to the danger that the 
harvest will be insufficient in 1932 and thus will prevent the vitally necessary 
self-sufficiency of the German Volk's food supply. The impoverished German 
Volk is no longer in a position to raise the foreign currency necessary to procure 
the foodstuffs abroad which would be lacking given an insufficient harvest. 

German Volksgenossen, German Farmers and Gardeners! This must not be 
allowed to happen; it is your patriotic duty to prevent a catastrophe from 
happening with the harvest. 

Thus I call upon all Germans to regard the task of safeguarding the German 
harvest of 1932 as their foremost duty. Anyone who endangers the orderly 
spring tilling by any means whatsoever and attacks the German farmer or 
gardener from behind; or anyone who fails to till his land correctly with only 
his own self-interest in mind is committing treason against the German Volk. 
German industry, the trades, and business have a bounden duty to make all 
sources of aid available and to enable the agriculture and horticulture industries 
to safeguard the harvest for 1932. 

I declare on behalf of the National Socialist Movement that a forthcoming 
National Socialist Government will grant special protection — even continuing 
after the harvest — to all measures taken now by farmers and other parties 
designed to effect the spring tilling in an unrestricted fashion. A National 
Socialist Government will also conduct an investigation of all compulsory 
auctions of agricultural property which has been effected since the bank 
catastrophe on July 13, 1931. This is the most elementary of obligations in the 
National Socialist view of the State, in which the preservation of the German 
peasantry as a source of regenerated blood for the Volk as well as the 
safeguarding of its food supply are the highest laws of life. National Socialism 
rates the laws of life of the Volk higher than the interests of international finance 
which have led to the destruction of all of the natural foundations of the 
German Volk and the German economy. 

I expect each and every party comrade and German-minded person, in 
particular the German farmers and gardeners, to now do his duty in respect to 
safeguarding the endangered crops. 

Adolf Hitler 

118 



February 22, 1932 

Already Hitler's words sounded like those of a head of state! 
Regardless of how grotesque this appeal was, it was in fact effective. The 
overwhelming majority of German peasants became Hitler's followers 
in 1932. On February 22, Hitler finally allowed Goebbels to announce 
his candidacy at an evening rally of the NSDAP in the Berlin 
Sportpalast. The news was followed by shouts of "Heil" lasting several 
minutes. 54 "The people are standing up and cheering and calling out and 
laughing and crying all at once," Goebbels wrote in his diary. 55 

On February 25, Hitler's naturalization was effected in Brunswick. 
The official notice read as follows: 56 

Brunswick, February 26 
The Fiihrer of the NSDAP, Adolf Hitler, has been appointed Regierungsrat 
(senior executive officer) in the Brunswick legation in Berlin with immediate 
effect. Adolf Hitler has thus become a German citizen. His certificate of 
appointment was signed in the afternoon of Thursday by the Brunswick 
Minister-President Kiichenthal and Minister Klagges. 

The somewhat dubious means by which Hitler had become a 
German citizen were not regarded by the National Socialists themselves 
as improper in the least. Indeed, they were pleased at having "put one 
over" on the Reich Government and that, by means of this incident, the 
public had been made aware of a loophole through which citizenship 
could be procured— and probably had been even before Hitler conceived 
of the plan. 

Hitler was by no means averse to now campaigning against Field 
Marshal von Hindenburg. This became evident as early as the first 
speech Hitler delivered after the announcement of his candidacy. On 
February 27 he addressed a rally of 25,000 in the Berlin Sportpalast. 57 
Following the standard long-winded introduction, his "party narrative," 
he stated: 

The fact that today's Vorwdrts writes in its appeal to the Social Democratic 
Party: "Beat Hitler!" makes me proud. There is nothing I want more than to 
have a good fight with you, and then Fate shall take the scales in its fist and 
weigh which side has more sacrifices and more will and more determination, 
yours or ours. I know your slogans. 

You say: "We will stay on at any price," and I say to you: "We will 
overthrow you no matter what!" 

And no matter what action you might take against it, no matter what your 
writings, lies or slander, it will come to nothing! 

And if you say that now finally I am personally standing in the arena of this 
battle, that's true: I believe that now the decision is nearing, and I would be too 
proud and too self-confident to perhaps march in the second rank. On the 

119 



February 27, 1932 

contrary: I am happy that I can now fight with my comrades, one way or 
another. And if you now believe you can wear us down with threats, that is 
where you are wrong! Feel free to threaten me with the dog whip. (Thunderous 
jeering) We shall see whether or not the whip is still in your hands at the end of 
the fight. The thirteenth of March will be a day of fighting for us, and I believe 
that this fight, my Volksgenossen, will reap the reward it deserves. Thirteen 
years of struggle, thirteen years of persistence, thirteen years of determination 
cannot have been in vain. 

1 believe in Divine Justice. I believe that it has defeated Germany because 
we had become faithless, and I believe that it will help us because we now once 
again profess our faith. 

I believe that the long arm of the Almighty will withdraw from those who 
are seeking merely alien shelter. 

We once served the Field Marshal obediently as our Supreme Commander; 
we honored him and desire that the German Volk continues to see in him the 
leader of the great struggle. It is because this is our wish and because this is our 
desire that today we view it as our duty to call out to the old Field Marshal: 

Old man, we hold you in too great a reverence to be able to tolerate that 
your being supported by the very ones we wish to destroy. As much as we regret 
it, you must step aside, for they want the fight, and we want it, too. 

And I believe that this battle will end with the victory of those who have 
really earned the victory, earned it through their fight, through their sacrifices 
and their commitment, through their persistence and determination, through 
their faith and the great ideals which inspire them. 

Hitler brought up his heavy guns in a letter addressed to the Reich 
President himself on February 28. He objected to the ban on the Berlin 
NSDAP newspaper, Der Angriff, to Berlin Chief of Police, Grzesinski, 
who had wanted to chase him out of Germany with a dog whip; to the 
fact that two different yardsticks were being applied to the election 
campaign and thus interfering with it, etc. He closed with the words: 58 

Herr Generalfeldmarschall! Do you believe it is worthy of your name, on 
the one hand, to allow your personal honor as a candidate for the presidency to 
be protected by a tangled mass of emergency decrees and legislative provisions, 
while on the other hand leaving your rival for office as fair game to the mercy 
of the lies and slander of party politics? 

What do you intend to do, Herr Reichsprasident, in order to restore to this 
battle, which also involves you personally, the principles of chivalry? 

The letter was delivered to Hindenburg by messenger at noon on 
February 28. Its contents were publicly disclosed a short two hours later 
at an NSDAP press conference held at two o'clock that afternoon. The 
next day Hitler began his election campaign through Germany, at this 
stage still traveling by car, in the course of which he spoke in the 
following cities: 

120 



March 


1: 


March 


2: 


March 


3: 


March 


4: 


March 


5: 


March 


6: 


March 


6: 


March 


7: 


March 


8: 


March 


9: 


March 10: 


March 11: 



February 28, 1932 

Hamburg (Sagebiel); 59 
Stettin (Exhibition Hall); 60 
Breslau (Jahrhunderthalle); 61 
Leipzig (Meusdorf Park); 62 
Bad Blankenburg; 63 
Weimar (Market Place); 64 
Frankfurt am Main (Festhalle); 65 
Nuremberg (Luitpoldhain); 66 
Stuttgart (Stadthalle); 67 
Cologne (Messehalle); 68 
Dortmund (Westfalenhalle); 69 
Hanover (Stadthalle). 70 

If one lends credence to the admittedly exaggerated reports of the 
Volkischer Beobachter, Hitler spoke before approximately 500,000 people 
in the course of this campaign. His listeners waited patiently inside and 
in front of the meeting halls. Hitler frequently arrived hours after the 
stated time (there were, for instance, delays of four hours in Breslau and 
two hours in Stuttgart). This was due in part to traffic problems caused 
by bad weather conditions but also motivated to a certain extent by the 
intention that, having waited so long, the audience would be more 
receptive to the speech which then came. 

In Hanover Hitler learned that the Prussian Minister of the Interior, 
Carl Severing, had issued a circular to the police throughout Prussia, 
warning them to be prepared for putsch attempts of the radical parties, 
in particular of the National Socialists, which might follow the 
presidential election. Hitler realized immediately that, should the 
election turn out unfavorably for him, measures would be taken against 
the Party and in particular against the SA— as was in fact the case after 
the second ballot. In order to reduce this threat, he issued the following 
statement to the press: 71 

Hanover, March 11 
The system, now at the brink of collapse, is attempting to maintain its 
position at the last minute by spreading rumors of plans to stage a putsch. These 
attempts are so stupid that no one can possibly take them seriously. The 
National Socialist Movement today has less reason than ever before to abandon 
the legal path it has taken and on which the system will be forced to its knees. 
All of the rumors circulating to the effect that the NSDAP is planning a putsch 
are false and to be seen as typical signs of our opponents' election campaign. 

Adolf Hitler 

121 



March 13, 1932 

In Hanover, Hitler also had a conference with the American 
journalist H.R. Knickerbocker, 72 to whom he stated that he would 
receive no fewer than twelve million votes on March 13, election day, 
and that Hindenburg would receive no more than twelve million votes. 

The Miinchener Neueste Nachrichten published the following account 
of the interview: 

The American journalist Knickerbocker had a conference with Hitler in 
Hanover on Friday. 

In respect to the election, Hitler declared that he would receive no fewer 
than twelve million votes. It was impossible, he stated, for one of the candidates 
to receive the absolute majority of the votes on the first ballot. The decision 
would therefore be made on the second ballot, and Hitler had no doubt as to its 
outcome. 

In reply to the journalist's question as to what would happen when he 
became Reich President, Hitler declared: 

The moment he was elected to the office of Reich President, Braining would 
resign. He would even have to do so if he (Hitler) received thirteen million votes 
on the first ballot. Then an interim government would have to take the place of 
the present Cabinet until the outcome of the election became final. 

The moment he assumed the office of Reich President, a Reichstag election 
would be announced in order to bring about a Reichstag which accurately 
reflected the will of the Volk. 

By no means would he immediately revoke all of the emergency decrees 
issued by Briining's Government, nor would he announce that the Treaty of 
Versailles was to be torn in two. The emergency decrees and the Treaty of 
Versailles had created a state of affairs which could not be changed by simply 
revoking the emergency decrees and tearing up the Treaty. These decrees would 
be revoked when something else had been created to take their place, and the 
Treaty of Versailles would be over and done when a different treaty was drawn 
up at another conference. 

In other words, Hitler was thoroughly optimistic — but not without 
reason, for numerous prominent public figures had declared their 
support for his candidacy. Fritz Thyssen, the industrial magnate on the 
Rhein, voiced the thoughts of many leading figures when he stated: 73 

"I am voting for Adolf Hitler because I know exactly who he is and 
am firmly convinced that he is the only one who can and will snatch 
Germany back from the brink of disaster and ruin." 

In the course of 1932, Hitler was to convince many more of 
Germany's leading figures to adopt this view. 

However, March 13, 1932 was a bitter disappointment for the 
NSDAP. The evening before, National Socialist newspapers 74 had 
proudly proclaimed: "Tomorrow Hitler will be Reich President," and 

122 



March 13, 1932 

most of the Party's supporters shared this conviction. The election 
results showed 18.65 million votes for Hindenburg, 11.34 million for 
Hitler, 2.55 million for Duesterberg (nominated jointly by the 
Stahlhelm and the DNVP), and 4.98 million for the Communist Party's 
candidate, Thalmann. Although Hindenburg had not received an 
absolute majority, his lead was so large as to preclude any chance of 
Hitler's being elected on the second ballot. 75 The Party was totally 
demoralized. But Hitler recovered immediately and issued the following 
appeals that same night: 76 

National Socialists! Party Comrades! 

The first campaign battle is over! In the face of a united effort by all the 
other parties, despite the harshest suppression and obstruction of our 
propaganda by the authorities, the National Socialist Party has nearly doubled 
its electorate in less than a year and a half. 

Today we have risen to the undisputedly largest party in Germany by far. 
Our opponents fought with an unparalleled flood of lies, slander and 
misrepresentations. The parties marching united against us have sunk from 21.4 
million to 18.6 million; we, in contrast, have risen from 6.4 to 11.3 million. The 
German Nationalists and the Stahlhelm have maintained their prior standing. 
What we have not completely succeeded in doing in this election campaign must 
be finished in the coming one. 

National Socialists! 

By our own efforts, we have once more attracted more than five million 
votes from the German Volk to our cause. The offensive against the united 
Centrist and Marxist front must now be resumed immediately with the most 
drastic means possible. I know, Party Comrades, that you have made great 
sacrifices in this battle. Still I demand that you instantly commence the battle for 
the second ballot. Not a day must be lost! I have already announced in my 
speeches that, no matter how the election ends, the fourteenth of March will see 
us back at work. And regardless of how great and intensive these efforts of the 
past weeks have been, they will and must increase still further! 

If the voters of the entire national front recall the dictates of the moment, 
we must still be capable of tearing loose the few million lacking Volksgenossen 
from the perverted front of our opponents and lead them to our Movement. 

I know that my speakers are tired now. I know that my SA and SS men have 
many sleepless nights behind them; I know that the political leaders, just like the 
leaders of the SA, have accomplished supernatural deeds in the past few weeks. 
But today there must be no mercy. Just as I am instantly reassuming my work, 
I expect from all of you that you increase your efforts without hesitation and, if 
necessary, double them. True to the task we see clearly before us, our 
propaganda will be subjected to a new test! The orders for the continuation and 
intensification of the fight are being issued to the organizations this very night. 

123 



March 13, 1932 

Party Comrades! 

Through our energy and tenacity, we have grown from seven men to a force 
of currently 11.3 million! Counting the other national forces, we now total 
approximately 13.8 million. We must be capable of tearing the lacking two and 
a half million away from the opposing front and lead them to where they 
belong. 

The goal is clear, the sacrifices which were made in the past serve only to 
reinforce the necessity of this struggle. We owe it to all those who placed their 
confidence in us to give our utmost and our very last to pin the victory to our 

fla s- 

The first round of this election is over; the second has begun today. This 
battle is one I will personally wage. 

Munich, March 13, 1932 Adolf Hitler 

Comrades in the SA and SS! Hitler Youth! NSKK! 

A difficult struggle lies behind you! I have personally come to know your 
sacrifices and your efforts. Thanks to them, the Party has now become, in an 
incomparable ascent, the strongest political movement in Germany by far. But 
a second and greater struggle now lies before you! Once more this system has 
demonstrated its ability to temporarily maintain itself by means of lies and 
deception, by abusing all public institutions and using terror and bans. Thus the 
battle against the system must recommence immediately. The fourteenth of 
March marks the beginning of the struggle for the decisive second ballot. Our 
task is: tear loose at least two and a half million voters who have been led astray 
from the Centrist and Marxist front and lead them to our national front. We 
have grown from seven men to a force of nearly eleven and a half million today. 
If all the party comrades and all of the comrades in the SA, SS, Hitler Youth, 
and NSKK fulfill their duty fanatically, we will also accomplish this task! As 
much as you may require a rest, the approaching fight, the most difficult of all, 
forces me to demand that you make the most difficult sacrifices. Our offensive 
shall commence immediately. The propaganda is now to be continued for four 
weeks with the utmost intensity. On April 10, no matter what it costs, this goal 
must be attained! Our comrades, who have made such great sacrifices and in the 
end even gave their health and their lives, have a right to demand the utmost 
commitment from us as well. A National Socialist who has recognized his 
opponents does not loosen his grip during his offensive until, in the end, they 
have broken down! The reward lies only in the ultimate victory! 

Munich, March 13, 1932 Adolf Hitler 

Of the many speeches and proclamations Hitler made in 1932, these 
appeals were doubtless the best and most effective. He was able to 
remobilize his adherents, who had sunken into deep depression, and lead 
them on into a new election campaign which, despite the hopelessness of 
his position, brought him two and a half million new voters. 

124 



March 15, 1932 

In 1932, Hitler had not yet become the "divine Fuhrer" of his later 
years, when he believed he could not afford to make mistakes. He 
confessed that he had miscalculated in his prognosis of the first ballot. 

On March 15, he traveled to Weimar in order to comply with the 
Social Democrats' demand that he testify before the parliamentary 
investigating committee of the Thuringian Landtag concerning Frick's 
attempt at obtaining citizenship for him in 1930. 77 

Hitler more than welcomed such opportunities to speak before 
people who did not usually attend his rallies. On this occasion he again 
delivered a lengthy propaganda speech, picked his opponents' 
accusations to pieces and projected the image of an impeccably legal- 
minded man who had, in 1930, torn Frick's certificate of naturalization 
into shreds in Gera. 78 

On the same evening, he took advantage of a rally of 5,000 party 
members in the Weimar Goethehalle to once more make a laughing 
stock of the investigating committee: 79 

I do not know if it was a yearning to make fools of themselves or a yearning 
to receive their daily allowances which was the main motivation of this 
investigating committee. Generally speaking, it is no great honor to behold these 
illustrious opponents with which fate has unfortunately blessed us. It would be 
better if one were faced with worthy fighters and not this stuff, this nature's run 
of the mill. 

All things considered, Hitler was probably correct in stating that he 
had no opponents of any real stature; on the other hand, it would 
certainly not have been "better" for him had he in fact had them. During 
World War II he believed that he could abuse and make fun of his 
opponents abroad in the same way. In 1941 and 1942 he declared that it 
was regrettable that he always had mere "washouts" to deal with. 80 But 
these opponents soon showed him who had the upper hand. 

However, on March 15, 1932, Hitler's rhetorical escapades were a 
great success. He continued his Weimar speech with the remark that the 
Social Democrats' fear of him had been the sole reason for Hindenburg's 
campaign success. 

I really did not believe it possible that the great "socialist, revolutionary 
liberators of the people," the Social Democrats — down to the last man — and even 
a large part of the KPD would really vote for Hindenburg in the election. We 
openly confess that we deceived ourselves on this count. I was aware of the fact 
that the gentlemen are afraid of me. But that the gentlemen were so afraid of me 
and that they were scared so stiff that they turned out down to the last man — 
that I did not expect. Actually, we can all be proud of that. After a struggle 

125 



March 15, 1932 

of barely twelve years, we have performed this miracle: that they have such an 
utter respect for a movement and, I am proud to say, for one man, that they 
abandon principles and pledges and memories and traditions to take up the 
single cry: It's every man for himself. 

If I then turn my gaze to the unequal weapons with which we had to fight: 
on the one hand the large and powerful representatives of the State — Ministers, 
Chancellors, of course only in their capacity as civil servants, not as agitators or, 
much less, as candidates; when I take a look at the imbalance of arms, with the 
radio, the cinemas, and the power to prohibit everything which is really 
convincing on the other hand; and when I see the other side at the mercy of this 
terror; and when I further reflect on this admirable number of opponents: the 
Center, the Bavarian People's Party, the German People's Party, the Social 
Democratic Party, the Reichsbanner, the Iron Front, all of the unions, the 
Christian unions, the free unions, the "volkisch" organizations such as the 
DHV 81 — if you take a look at this whole bunch of parties, associations and 
organizations, then I can be proud that, confronted with this whole jumbled-up 
mixture, we National Socialists alone summoned up 11.3 million, and now, in a 
barely thirteen-year-long fight, compared to these "venerable remains" of times 
past, we have, after all, been able to raise — from nothing — the largest German 
party which has ever existed. I know very well that this or that person from the 
ranks of those who do not know me and do not know us has perhaps thought: 
"Now they'll have had enough." 

My Volksgenossen! I may make one pledge to you here: throughout my 
entire life, I have always said that, for me, no one day will ever mark the end of 
the struggle, but rather that the following day the struggle will continue. And 
above all, I can promise you one thing: I have sunk my teeth into my opponent 
and you will not be able to shake me loose from this opponent. And as I have 
attacked today, so will I attack again tomorrow, and the day after once more. 
You would have to kill me before you will get me to loosen my grip on this 
enemy of Germany. 

However, he had to be patient for the time being, for the Reich 
Government, hoping to check the flow of Hitler's feared oratory, had 
imposed a truce (Burgfriede) until noon of April 3. No election rallies 
were allowed prior to this date. However, Hitler had other ways to 
focus public attention on himself in the interim. The above is 
characteristic in style and content of Hitler's campaign speeches for the 
second ballot in the presidential election on April 10, 1932. 

On March 17, he published a statement on the raids by Severing's 
police in Prussia and protested against the house searches being 
conducted in SA lodgings. 82 On March 19, he spoke at the Reichsfuhrer 
convention of the NSDAP in Munich. 83 

On March 24, Hitler published a telegram protesting against the ban 
on 25 National Socialist newspapers which had been imposed in 
connection with the police action taken by Severing. 84 

126 



March 26, 1932 

On March 26, he addressed an appeal to subscribers and readers of 
the National Socialist press. 85 

The actual election campaign had been reduced to less than a week- 
April 3 to 8 — by means of the truce imposed by the Reich Government. 
Party leaders were prohibited from making radio speeches; only 
members of the Government and state dignitaries were allowed access to 
the microphones. If Hitler intended to use his own talent for oratory, 
his strongest and hitherto most successful instrument of propaganda, he 
was forced to resort to extraordinary measures. He chartered a plane 86 
and was thus able, in a single day, to speak at four to five of the rallies 
scheduled by the NSDAP in the largest and most important German 
cities. He wanted to be heard by millions. Although ultimately a total 
of only one million people attended the rallies, as one can conclude from 
the respective accounts in the Volkischer Beobachter, the program in and 
of itself was undoubtedly an enormous physical and rhetorical 
achievement. 



127 



April 3, 1932 



Punctually at 12:00 noon on April 3 (the end of the truce), Hitler 
launched his speechmaking offensive with a campaign speech in Dresden 
(at the Reick Cycle Track). 

At the same time he issued a proclamation ("manifesto") to the 
German Volk for April 24. 87 

On the same day, he made election speeches in Leipzig (Exhibition 
Grounds), Chemnitz (Sudkampfbahn), and Plauen. 88 

On April 4, Hitler spoke in Berlin (Lustgarten), Potsdam 
(Luftschiffhafen), and twice more in Berlin (Sportpalast and 
Friedrichshain) . 89 

On April 5, Hitler landed at the airport of the Free City of Danzig 
and there reviewed the SA troops. On this occasion, he received a 
welcome from Danzig police officers. This same day, Hitler delivered 
speeches in Elbing (Fabrikhalle) and Konigsberg (Haus der Technik). In 
addition, the SA marched up at the Wrangel Barracks in Konigsberg in 
his honor. 90 

Hitler made a stopover in Berlin on April 6. There he collected 
reports on the Prussian police action taken against the SA which, as 
became clearly evident, had been initiated with the consent of the Reich 
Minister of the Interior and of Defense, Groener, and which was 
tantamount to a ban on the SA. Hitler, however, was already organizing 
his counteraction through "subterranean" channels, via Rohm, to 
Schleicher, who maintained close relations to the son and adjutant to the 
Reich President, Colonel Oskar von Hindenburg, and the State 
Secretary, Otto Meissner. 

In view of the house searches, Hitler also felt it was necessary to 
protect his Chief of Staff, Rohm, and above all to conceal the latter's 
homosexual tendencies or refute respective claims as slander. 91 

Hence he published the following statement on behalf of Chief of 
Staff Rohm: 92 

128 



April 6, 1932 

For quite transparent reasons, the rumor has been circulating frequently 
during the campaign that I am planning to dismiss my Chief of Staff. In this 
respect I may explicitly state once and for all: Lieutenant Colonel 93 Rohm is now 
and will remain my Chief of Staff after the elections. Not even the dirtiest and 
most disgusting smear campaign, which does not stop at misrepresentations, 
violations of the law or abuse of office and which will be lawfully atoned for, 
can change this fact. 

Berlin, April 6, 1932 Adolf Hitler 

On April 6, Hitler delivered campaign speeches in Wtirzburg 
(Frankenhalle), Nuremberg (Festhalle), and Regensburg (in a tent 
outside the city limits). 94 

On April 7, Hitler published a statement concerning an allegedly 
forged bill from the Kaiserhof Hotel which the SPD press had published 
as proof of his extravagance. 95 

On the same day he made a campaign speech in Frankfurt am Main 
(Festhalle) and stressed his financial independence in the following 
remark: 

It may be that I am the only politician who is not employed by his party. I 
have placed my salary as senior executive officer in Brunswick at the disposal of 
the Brunswick State Bank to be distributed among disqualified unemployed. 96 

Hitler left Frankfurt for Darmstadt and declared at a campaign rally 
there the same day: 97 

When I prophesied six million unemployed one year ago, I was laughed at 
and made out to be an irresponsible agitator. I have been proven right in my 
theory that the loss of liberty leads to loss of work. 

On April 7, Hitler also spoke at an election rally in Ludwigshafen 
(Exhibition Hall). 98 

On April 8, he ignored stormy weather conditions and flew from 
Mannheim to Dtisseldorf to deliver a speech there (Cycle Track). The 
same day he also spoke in Essen (Cycle Track) and Minister in Westfalia 
(Munsterhalle). 99 

According to a decree of the Reich Government, no events were to 
be scheduled for April 9. But Hitler had arranged effective verbal 
propaganda for this day: a great number of leading figures declared their 
support of his candidacy on April 9. Even Crown Prince William of 
Prussia made the following contribution to Hitler's publicity 



campaign: 100 



129 



April 10, 1932 

Abstention at the second ballot of the presidential election is incompatible 
with the concept of the Harzburg Front. Because I believe that it is absolutely 
essential that the national front stand united, I will vote for Adolf Hitler on the 
second ballot. 

Oels Castle, April 2, 1932 Wilhelm, Crown Prince 

The outcome of the second ballot on April 10 was as follows: 
Hindenburg 19.3 million, Hitler 13.4 million, and Thalmann 4.9 million 
votes. Duesterberg and Winter 101 had not run. 

Although Hindenburg had achieved an absolute majority, Hitler 
was the real winner on the second ballot (36.7 percent of the votes). He 
had succeeded in recruiting a further two million new voters in what 
had appeared to be a hopeless situation. Not only did he receive most of 
the votes of those who had formerly cast their ballots for Duesterberg 
(German Nationalists and Stahlhelm), but also a substantial number of 
the Communist voters. In 1932, many radical workers and unemployed 
swayed between Hitler and the KPD, as was evidenced in the elections 
still to come that year. 

Hitler proudly issued the following appeals to his adherents on 
April 10: 102 

National Socialists! Party Comrades! 

You have fought a great and difficult battle. I knew that your loyalty is 
unshakable. Still I must thank you for your tremendous faith, your willingness 
to make sacrifices, and your diligence! 

In spite of all the acts of suppression and persecution, our Movement has 
won a new victory through you which justifies it in regarding itself as a 
vanguard of national liberty and thus of the national future. Tomorrow the new 
struggle will begin. I know that you will continue to be the best guard of the 
German Volk in the future. 

On April 24, we will once more pit ourselves against our opponents. And 
at one point in time the day must and will come on which we shall carry our 
flags to the last victory. 

Munich, April 10, 1932 Adolf Hitler 

Men of the SA and SS! My Leaders! 

A difficult task lies behind you. We owe a new great victory to your 
courageous protection and your untiring diligence. I am immensely proud to be 
your Fiihrer. 

Munich, April 10, 1932 Adolf Hitler 

To the Leaders of the Organization and the Propaganda Department of 
the National Socialist Movement! Party Comrades and Leaders! 

The victory of April 10 obliges me to thank all those who, by their efforts, 
have created the necessary foundations in the organization, our propaganda 

130 



April 10, 1932 

and the press. The confidence which thirteen and a half million Germans have 
placed in our Movement is not only the highest reward for work well done, but 
also the most weighty obligation for the future. 

The National Socialist Movement cannot rest until the goal of the national 
liberation of Germany has become reality. Millions of German mental and 
manual workers, millions of German peasants are expecting our fight to 
continue! 

The work begins tomorrow, April 11, for the difficult battles to come. 
Munich, April 10, 1932 Adolf Hitler 

Hitler had every reason to be satisfied with the election results of 
April 10. 

Burning and Groener believed that they, too, had scored a success, 
but they were deceiving themselves. While it was true that Hindenburg 
had been elected, the economic and political problems remained 
unsolved. Brtining's doctrinaire policies of deflation had only worsened 
the already disastrous economic situation, and his efforts to bring about 
equality of rights for Germany abroad and in military terms, and to 
remove the burden of reparations had not yet reaped any results. These 
were to fall to his successors. Domestically, the impression had arisen 
that the Reich Government was much less interested in alleviating the 
general crisis than in using every imaginable stratagem to prevent the 
NSDAP — which had become the strongest party — from taking over 
power. 

Bruning and his ministers could produce no tangible evidence of 
success, and it was only a matter of time before they would fall. 
Misjudging their true situation after the presidential election, Bruning 
and Groener wrongly assumed themselves to be strong enough to strike 
a decisive blow to the NSDAP. On April 13, they induced the Reich 
President to sign a decree "toward securing the authority of the State" 
pursuant to Article 48. 103 The first paragraph of this decree pronounced 
that "all paramilitary organizations" of the NSDAP (SA, SS, etc.) were 
disbanded with immediate effect. The chief of the ministerial office, 
General von Schleicher, had shrewdly refused to have any part of this 
decree. 104 

Its wording could not have been more unwisely chosen. The 
NSDAP was not the only party with "paramilitary organizations"; the 
SPD, for instance, had its own uniformed militant associations, the 
Reichsbanner and the Iron Front. 

Hitler immediately seized upon this point. On the same day he 
issued the following appeal: 105 

131 



April 13, 1932 

National Socialists, Party Comrades, former men of the SA and SS, 
former members of the NSKK and the Fliegerstiirme! 

Now you know why I attempted to prevent the black and red parties from 
campaigning for the office of president. As a prelude to the elections in the 
Lander, General Groener has disbanded the SA and the SS. However, the 
Reichsbanner and the Iron Front were found to be politically valuable and thus 
not banned. 

Party Comrades, I understand your feelings. For years now, faithful to my 
orders, you have adhered to the legal path to gain political power. During this 
time, you have undergone the most cruel persecution and torture. Hundreds of 
comrades have been killed, many thousands have been wounded. The cowardly 
murderers and perpetrators are, for the most part, nonetheless free to go their 
ways. For any attempt at self-defense, countless numbers of you were sent to jail 
or even to the penitentiary. In spite of the horrible misery which has been 
inflicted upon you, too, through the fault of the parties in power today, you 
have remained upright and honest Germans. 

You have marvellously fulfilled Seume's prophecy that one day the poorest 
sons of our Volk will be its most loyal citizens. 106 

I know what General Groener, Herr Braun, Herr Severing, Herr 
Grzesinski, Herr Stiitzel, Herr Briming and company want, and you know it, 
too. Our answer to this new act of desperation on the part of the system will not 
be to party; it will be to strike. 

The 24th of April will be the day of retaliation. Toward this end I 
recommend to you, my former comrades of the SA and SS, the following: 

1. From now on you are only party comrades. 

2. As party comrades, you fulfill your duty by voluntarily devoting 
yourselves more than ever before to the political campaign work in the sections 
and Ortsgruppen (local groups) as party comrades. 

Do not give those presently in power any reason to cancel the elections 
under any pretext whatsoever. 107 If you fulfill your duty, General Groener's 
blow will fall back upon him and his confederates a thousand times over from 
the force of our propaganda. 

Do not lose faith in the future of our Volk, in the greatness of our 
Vaterland, and in the victory of our cause, which is to serve both. I will give my 
utmost for this fight, and hence for Germany. You shall follow me. In spite of 
General Groener: as long as I live, I belong to you, and you belong to me. 

But on April 24, may it please a righteous Providence to bless our fight for 
liberty and justice. Long live our National Socialist Movement, long live 
Germany! 

Berlin, April 13, 1932 Adolf Hitler 

This proclamation had an immediate effect. By April 15, the Reich 
President had dispatched a letter to Groener. 108 In a rather harsh tone, 
Hindenburg wrote that he had been informed in the interim that similar 
organizations were maintained by the other parties, and he was forced 
to insist that they receive equal treatment. However, the last thing 

132 



April 15, 1932 

Briining and Groener could afford was a ban of the Reichsbanner. 
Ultimately, Hindenburg's letter constituted the death sentence for 
Groener's political career. Right-wing circles in Germany had 
frequently been annoyed by Groener in the past. In November 1918, as 
Ludendorffs successor, he had been forced to discuss the significance of 
the oath of allegiance with William II, evoking strong disapproval. In 
1930, in his capacity as Reich Minister of Defense, he had allowed 
normal policemen to arrest Reichswehr Lieutenants Ludin and 
Scheringer and First Lieutenant Wendt on suspicion of having been 
involved in National Socialist propaganda activities— a faux pas for 
which the officers' caste could not forgive him. And now, in the opinion 
of the military, he had gone so far as to weaken the military power of 
the Reich by banning the SA. 

It seems astonishing that Groener did not realize the gravity of the 
situation. As Reich Minister of Defense, he must have been well aware 
of the close relations between the SA and the Reichswehr which had 
been developing at least since fall of 1931 and which now, for instance 
in East Prussia, had become particularly close. Since there was 
practically no chance at the time that general conscription could be 
reinstituted in Germany, the concept of militias enjoyed great 
popularity in Reichswehr circles as well, and the attitude toward the SA 
was by no means as negative as it would become two years later under 
Hitler's influence. In any case, following the ban on the SA, Hitler 
could now simply wait for the end of both Groener and Briining. 

On April 14, he granted the Berlin correspondent of the Evening 
Standard an interview on the background of the ban 109 and then 
commenced his second airborne campaign throughout Germany with 
his sights on the Landtag elections scheduled for April 24. 

Hitler started on April 16 with speeches in Augsburg (Sangerhalle), 
Donauworth (Donauhalle), Rosenheim ("Deutscher Kaiser" Hall), 
Schlossberg bei Rosenheim (Sailerkeller), Traunstein (Turnhalle), and 
Miesbach (Hofbrauhaus). 110 

On April 17, Hitler applied to the Government in Brunswick to 
institute disciplinary proceedings against him based upon allegations 
published by the Berliner Tageblatt. The paper had claimed that he had 
made a statement to the foreign press to the effect that pressure from 
France had been the underlying cause for the SA ban. 111 

On April 18, he held campaign speeches in Beuthen, Gorlitz and 
Breslau (Jahrhunderthalle). 112 

On April 19, he paid a visit to East Prussia, viewed the Tannenberg 
Monument and delivered speeches in Allenstein, Willenberg and Lyk. 113 

133 



April 19, 1932 

In Lyk he paid a special compliment to his audience, declaring: 

I do not believe there is another Land in Germany with the faith Mazovia 
has. Since I am not able to stop everywhere, I have resolved to come to Mazovia 
for a week after the end of the Oldenburg election 114 to make up for what I 
unfortunately have had to miss today. 

On April 20, his birthday, Hitler received the congratulations of his 
party friends in Konigsberg and then proceeded by plane to attend the 
election rallies scheduled for that day. He spoke in Halle (Race Track) 
and in Kassel and Marburg in huge tents which had been erected for the 
masses attending the rallies. 115 

On April 21, he spoke at one such gathering in a tent in Bad 
Kreuznach, proclaiming to thunderous applause: 

We are uniting the German Volk. The picture presented by this tremendous 
rally you see here today is one which is repeated before my very eyes four times 
a day. We can proudly say that we are the largest unification movement the 
German nation has ever known. 

Hitler delivered similar speeches this same day in Koblenz (Stadium) 
and Trier (Sangerhalle). 116 

Campaign rallies in Frankfurt an der Oder (Stadium), 117 Neuruppin 
(Schtitzenplatz) 118 and Berlin (Sportpalast) 119 followed on April 22. 

The Landtag elections on April 24 120 did, in fact, result in a 
substantial increase in National Socialist mandates. In the largest Land, 
Prussia, the NSDAP became the strongest party by far. However, only 
in Anhalt 121 did this suffice for a right-wing majority. It had not been 
possible to penetrate more deeply into the ranks of voters supporting 
the Social Democrats, the Center, and, respectively, the Bavarian 
People's Party. 122 On the other hand, the peasants and the Mittelstand 
had cast their ballots predominantly for the NSDAP. 

At least Hitler was in a position to issue a proclamation of thanks to 
his party comrades on April 24. 123 

Hitler had a meeting with Schleicher in Berlin on April 28. 124 The 
next day he composed a general statement of gratitude for the birthday 
wishes he had received, 125 and on April 30 he filed suit against the 
outcome of the presidential elections at the Reich Canvassing Court. 126 
He demanded that the election be declared null and void due to various, 
however insignificant, cases of obstruction. In view of Hindenburg's 
considerable margin, the action had no chance of success, but Hitler had 
resolved to let no opportunity pass in 1932 which might attract the 
attention of the public to himself and put his name in the headlines of 

134 



April 30, 1932 

every newspaper, regardless whether the context was positive or 
negative. 

Now things quieted down for a few days. Early in May, Hitler 
traveled to the Obersalzberg near Berchtesgaden to stay at the country 
house which he had purchased in 1925. 127 As early as May 8 he was back 
in Berlin for another conference with Rohm, Schleicher, and others 
who enjoyed Hindenburg's confidence. 128 Apparently it did not require 
much persuasion on Hitler's part to convey to his fellow interlocutors 
that it was time to dispose of Briining and Groener. 

Groener did make another feeble speech before the Reichstag on 
May 10, but his days were clearly numbered. On May 13, he was 
induced to tender his resignation as Reich Minister of Defense. He 
retained the office of Reich Minister of the Interior, which he held, at 
any rate, only as "caretaker." In essence, Groener's fall meant that 
Briining's was certain to follow. The only thing lacking was a formal 
ground, which Hitler soon provided. As mentioned above, elections to 
the Landtag in Oldenburg had been scheduled for May 29, and Hitler 
lost no time in launching a new speechmaking campaign; the 
undertaking had every promise of a particularly noteworthy success, for 
the population there consisted chiefly of peasants. 

After Hitler had imparted his "instructions" to the newly-elected 
Prussian Landtag deputies in the Prinz Albrecht Hotel in Berlin on May 
19, 129 he repaired to the scene of the Oldenburg election. On May 20, he 
delivered initial speeches in Birkenfeld and Idar-Oberstein, villages in 
the Oldenburg exclave of the Hunsriick mountains. 130 

He then proceeded to the fishing village of Horumersiel on the coast 
of the North Sea. Here he established a headquarters from which he 
intended to win over the population of Oldenburg in an oratorical 
offensive. He spoke on May 22 in the city of Oldenburg at a rally (Race 
Course); 131 on May 23, he was in Riistringen, 132 on May 25 in 
Rodenkirchen, 133 and on May 26 in Delmenhorst (Schiitzenhof). 134 This 
same day he visited the Reich Navy's cruiser Koln in Wilhelmshaven 
and penned the following dedication in the ship's guest book: 135 

With the hope of being able to help in rebuilding a fleet worthy of the Reich. 

Adolf Hitler 

Two campaign speeches in Kloppenburg (Markthalle) and Bad 
Zwischenahn (Maschinenhalle) 136 followed on May 27. 

Hitler did not wait for the outcome of the elections in Oldenburg but 
left immediately for Mecklenburg-Schwerin, where Landtag elections 

135 



May 28, 1932 

were scheduled for June 5. There he stayed with the National Socialist 
landowner Granzow in Severin and held a speech at a rally in Rostock 
(Alte Rennbahn) 137 as early as May 28. 

May 29 was a black day for Briining. President Hindenburg had 
returned to Berlin from a two-week sojourn at his estate Gut Neudeck 
in East Prussia with the conviction that the smouldering government 
crisis needed to be solved once and for all. On May 29, he demanded that 
the Reich Chancellor enlarge his Cabinet by adding right-wing 
members. Even if Briining initially believed himself capable of 
persuading Hindenburg to reconsider, the outcome of the election in 
Oldenburg that same day settled the matter. Hitler had come away from 
the polls with nearly half of the electorate (49 percent). The deputies of 
the NSDAP held 24 of the 46 mandates and hence the absolute majority 
in the Oldenburg Landtag. Previously, there had been right-wing 
governments with a strong National Socialist constituency in a number 
of Lander (Thuringia, Brunswick, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Anhalt), but 
the outcome of this election was unique. There was no doubt that the 
next Landtag election in the rural Land of Mecklenburg-Schwerin the 
following Sunday would produce similar results. Under these 
circumstances, Briining was forced to tender his resignation on May 30. 

As his successor Schleicher had chosen Franz von Papen, a relatively 
unknown deputy of the Center Party and member of the Herrenklub; lii 
Reich Minister of the Interior was to be Freiherr von Gayl from East 
Prussia. Schleicher himself assumed the Reich Ministry of Defense. The 
other ministers were experts in their fields, and several were to remain 
in office for years afterward under Hitler (von Neurath, Schwerin von 
Krosigk, Eltz von Riibenach, Franz Giirtner). 139 

Hitler received a telephone call in Mecklenburg summoning him to 
Berlin; he delayed the speech scheduled for May 30 in Waren and 
appeared, in the company of Goring, before the Reich President that 
afternoon. Hindenburg asked him whether he would tolerate the new 
Cabinet. It appears that, having been given satisfactory assurances in 
respect to the dissolution of the Reichstag and to lifting the ban on the 
SA, he consented. But how long would he tolerate the new Government? 
One week? One month? In his eyes, Papen's Cabinet was an interim 
cabinet with the sole purpose of clearing away the last obstructions to his 
own accession to power. By no means was he willing to support this 
Government beyond the new elections to the Reichstag, which he 
expected to result in a right-wing majority. If Hindenburg and Papen had 
envisioned this toleration any differently, they had no one to blame but 

136 



May 31, 1932 

themselves. Hitler's personal mouthpiece, the Volkischer Beobachter, 
commented with unusual restraint as early as June 3: 140 "The publication 
of the Party's position in respect to the new Cabinet and its measures 
will be forthcoming when appropriate." For the time being, the 
Government's main priority was to bring about a dissolution of the 
Reichstag and reinstate the freedom to demonstrate "for the NSDAP 
which has been unutterably suppressed in the past." 

In the meantime, Hitler returned to Mecklenburg in order to 
reassume his interrupted campaign speeches. On May 31, he spoke in 
Wismar, 141 on June 2 in Giistrow, 142 and on June 4 in Waren. 143 

On June 4, Hitler also met with Schleicher at a country manor in 
Mecklenburg to discuss once again the demand that the Reichstag be 
dissolved; the Cabinet naturally was disinclined to take up this matter. 
Hitler had even drawn up a memorandum on the subject, which he 
then, however, no longer needed to submit. 144 

On June 5, Hitler scored another victory at the polls. In 
Mecklenburg-Schwerin he again received nearly half of the ballots. His 
party achieved the absolute majority in the Landtag there, holding 30 of 
58 mandates. Hitler's party friend Granzow became Minister-President. 



137 



June 5, 1932 



On June 5, Hindenburg signed the order to dissolve the Reichstag 
on the grounds that it "no longer reflects the political will of the 
German Volk subsequent to the outcome of the elections to the 
Landtage of the German Lander which have taken place in recent 
months." 145 

Hitler had had his way, but he met with a new setback on June 6. 
Pursuant to the Constitution, new elections were to be scheduled no 
later than sixty days from the dissolution. Hindenburg scheduled the 
election 146 for the last possible Sunday: July 31, 1932. The Government 
hoped to be able to make such visible progress in these two months that 
the wind would be taken out of Hitler's sails and he would by no means 
be capable of attaining an absolute majority in the coming polls. 

Hitler undoubtedly would have preferred an immediate election. 
There was a feeling of victory among his adherents, for Briining had 
been overthrown and the entire "system" had suffered substantial 
damage. But what slogans should he use to carry him through a lengthy 
campaign, not to mention the considerable costs involved? Popular 
opinion already had it that the "Cabinet of Barons" had been constituted 
at Hitler's request or at least with his consent. As long as it was merely 
a short-term solution, this might have been acceptable. However, if the 
reactionary Government held office for months on end, it might have 
been regarded as a permanent solution, and this was difficult to reconcile 
with the socialist demands of the NSDAP, at least in an outward sense. 
Now that the government system Hitler had fought so avidly was 
eliminated, logically he could not, at least for the time being, dismiss 
von Papen's Cabinet as a gallery of rogues. The only alternative left was 
to concentrate his rhetoric on the specter of Communism, seek bloody 
confrontations with Communists on the streets as effective factual 
support for the claims he uttered, and combat the non-National Socialist 
Governments at the Land level. 

138 



June 9, 1932 

The Reichsleiters and Gauleiters to whom Hitler presented his new 
propaganda concept on June 9 and 10 at a convention in Munich were 
less than enthusiastic, and Hitler saw himself compelled to require, as a 
precautionary measure, that the NSDAP Reichstag candidates swear 
allegiance to him personally at this time. 147 

In addition, the progress of current proceedings before the 
Landgericht of Munich in the Abel perjury case, which concerned the 
NSDAP's position on South Tirol and foreign monetary grants, was not 
favorable. Hitler, who usually transformed courtrooms into forums for 
his propaganda, was driven into a corner and refused "to give any more 
answers at all to Jewish lawyers." 

The court sentenced him to a fine of 1,000 RM, 200 RM of which 
were due to refusal to give evidence. 148 

However, he hoped to find a more receptive audience in the Hessian 
election campaign. The Landtag there was to be elected on June 19, even 
though the last election had taken place only six months before. 
Adelung's Social Democratic caretaker Cabinet was still in office. 

Hitler held his first speech in the Hessian campaign in Worms 
(Stadium) 149 on June 12 and afterwards left to fly to Berlin for a meeting 
with Papen on June 13 in the apartment of Herrenklub member Werner 
von Alvensleben, where he vehemently insisted that the SA ban still in 
force be lifted. 150 

Late in the afternoon he was back in Mainz to deliver a speech at the 
Sport Grounds there. 151 More speeches followed onjune 14 in Alzey, 152 
June 15 in Darmstadt, 153 June 16 in Offenbach (Sports Grounds), 154 and 
June 17 in Giessen (Festhalle). 155 

In the interim, Papen had hurried to comply with Hitler's request 
that the SA ban be lifted and the rights to assemble and to demonstrate 
be reinstated. A respective decree was signed by the Reich President on 
June 14. 156 

On June 18, Hitler published the following decree reinstituting the 

SA: 157 

I hereby order that the SA be reinstituted and assign this task to the Chief 
of Staff, Ernst Rohm. For the time being, I confirm that the Gruppenfuhrers 
will remain in those sections and areas in which they were appointed prior to 
the disbanding of the SA. The SS will be reinstituted by Reichsfiihrer H. 
Himmler. All of the organizational orders of the former SA shall be valid for 
now as a framework. They will be reissued shortly. Any further implementation 
provisions will be decreed by the Chief of Staff. 

Adolf Hitler 

139 



June 19, 1932 

The SA columns began to march towards the end of the Hessian 
election campaign. Election day on June 19 did not, however, result in 
an outcome as straightforward as had been the case in Oldenburg and 
Mecklenburg. A considerable proportion of Hesse's population 
consisted of blue-collar workers, and the new Landtag was respectively 
comprised of 35 right-wing deputies (32 of them from the NSDAP) and 
35 deputies from the other parties. It was impossible to form a right- 
wing government. But what had failed in Hesse was to succeed in 
Thuringia, where Hitler had also felt that new elections were requisite. 
On June 19, Hitler was addressing 2,000 party leaders in Weimar 
gathered for a general roll call there. He stated: 158 

The Party is now involved in a series of the most difficult election 
campaigns. They have ended victoriously one after another. Now we see that a 
Reich Government has even lifted its ban on uniforms and the SA. I believe that 
all of this is necessary. I believe it is necessary, that no German Reich 
Government can or will completely fulfill the nation's hopes, but rather that 
these will only be fulfilled when the power and control is taken over by the 
Movement which has created the prerequisites for it. 

I know that there are some Lander and some parties which believe 
themselves capable of combatting the tremendous development of our 
Movement from their own positions. But you can go home knowing for certain 
now that I am one of those people who are able to observe things and 
developments with ice-cold objectivity. I also believe that I have excellent 
nerves, and I am not about to lose control. But this calm does not mean that we 
will swallow everything without any will of our own. We will fight with all legal 
means available in order to defend our right. However [continuing in a much 
louder voice), if anyone in Germany believes that he can stabilize injustice by 
violating the Constitution, he will soon see our other side. We are fighting 
strictly in accordance with the law and, in this lawful fight, will use every means 
to knock down those who break with legality. They will never again break this 
Movement, for today this Movement is Germany. 

Typically enough, Hitler then announced the dissolution of the 
Thuringian Landtag, which did not come about until July 15, prompted 
by a cabinet crisis there. 

It would make me happy if here, of all places, a major victory could be won, 
because the Thuringian Landtag needs a new election again, too. That is the 
parliamentary fate which the gentlemen in power bestowed upon themselves 
with the Weimar Constitution. I am convinced that, just as in Mecklenburg and 
Oldenburg, our flag will fly alone in Thuringia. 

On June 22, Hitler issued the following proclamation on the 
Reichstag election: 159 

140 



June 22, 1932 

National Socialists! Party Comrades! 

Ten election campaigns lie behind us. Ten times we have fought against our 
opponents' united front. Ten times we have won unprecedented victories! The 
year 1932 will one day be immortalized as the year of the most difficult sacrifices 
and struggles, but also as the year of the greatest victories and successes. 

The fact that National Socialism is Germany's largest party today can no 
longer be denied by anyone. Nevertheless, a new wave of suppression and 
persecution is now hitting us. The bloodiest terror practiced by the murdering 
scum of the Communist underworld is combined with continued breaches of 
the law and the Constitution committed by the Center and the Social 
Democratic Party in those Lander in which these parties are still in power. 

In Prussia, the Center jointly attempted, with the SPD, to secure the 
continued existence of the black-red rule by means of manipulations; 160 in 
Bavaria, this same Center, using a forged Landtag protocol, prevented our entire 
Party from representing the interests of our voters. 1,270,000 people have been 
robbed of their constitutional rights solely as a result of this trickery. 

At the same time, thanks to the fourteen years of sloppy management by 
these very parties, the Reich and the Lander are facing political and economic 
bankruptcy. 

As the responsible leader of the National Socialist Movement, I must 
therefore refuse to make any kind of pact with these parties today. 

In view of the fact that the necessary assumption of exclusive responsibility 
in Prussia by the NSD AP has been made impossible by the manipulations of the 
former Prussian government parties, National Socialism would have to enter 
into a coalition with a party which is practicing a most intolerant persecution 
and oppression of our Movement throughout the Reich. 

But we would rather do without ministers before we surrender our honor 
or our principles. 

Germany and Prussia will not be saved by trickery and compromises, but 
rather only by exhibiting strength of character. 

Today the Center does not yet believe in the purpose of the most recent 
elections and the mission of our Movement. We will get them to understand this 
faith by July of the year 1932 at the latest. 

Party Comrades! See to it now that the election campaign on July 31 
becomes a decisive battle. The victory on this day must also serve to finally 
break the power of the black-red parties in Prussia and in the Lander. And that 
without compromises. 

God willing, we will then have created on August 1 the prerequisites for 
forming governments, above all in Prussia, which will both do justice to 
historic tradition as well as be capable of accomplishing the gigantic tasks of the 
present. 

Munich, June 22, 1932 Adolf Hitler 

Hitler now began his own preparations for the new election 
campaign. On June 24, he addressed the reinstituted SA and SS formations 
in Munich (Zirkus Krone); 161 he delivered a speech on June 28 at a 

141 



June 28, 1932 

convention of Gauleiters and SA leaders in Munich, 162 and spoke on July 
3 at a meeting of 15,000 SA men in the Dante Stadium in Munich. 163 In 
each speech he issued warnings that the caretaker Government in 
Bavaria should refrain from any further obstruction of the SA and be 
wary of separatist plots. 

The first genuine campaign speeches aimed at the election on July 31 
were held on July 6 in Bad Tolz 164 and July 7 in Landsberg 
(Exerzierplatz) . 165 

A meeting at the Obersalzberg followed on July 9 166 and an election 
speech in Berchtesgaden on July 10. 167 Subsequently Hitler set off for a 
"Freedom Flight over Germany." For the first time that year, he donned 
a uniform for the occasion. 168 

A colossal speechmaking program had been scheduled. Encouraged 
by his successes in the presidential and Landtag elections, he believed 
that a further intensification of his speechmaking activities at several 
rallies per day would bring, if not the absolute majority, then at least 40 
to 45 percent of the ballot. However, this expectation proved false. In 
any case, he placed more value on the direct contact with the people 
afforded by such mass rallies than upon the mass communication 
available by radio. Although for years he had objected to being, as he 
claimed, illegally denied access to this medium, now that it was available 
as a potential instrument of propaganda, he declined to exploit it, 
leaving the microphones to Gregor Strasser and Goebbels. 169 

Prior to the commencement of the election campaign, Hitler 
nonetheless made a phonograph record of a speech so that his voice at 
least could be heard where he was not able to conduct campaign rallies 
in person. He preferred this recorded speech, complete with a backdrop 
of excited masses, to a simple radio broadcast, in which he would have 
been merely one of many spokesmen for the various parties. The 
recording was extolled in the July 15th edition of the Volkischer 
Beobachter as "the first Adolf-Hitler record" and bore the title, "Appeal 
to the Nation," 170 The arguments used in it are typical of Hitler's 
campaign speeches in the first half of 1932: 

The great time of decision has now arrived. Fate has allotted those in power 
today more than thirteen years to be tested and proven. But they hand down 
their own worst sentence, in that they themselves confess to the failure of their 
efforts by the type of propaganda they use today. 

Once it was their desire to govern Germany better in the future than in the 
past, and they are forced to observe that the only real product of their attempts 
at government is that Germany and the German Volk are still alive. In the 

142 



July 15, 1932 

November days of '18 [1918], they solemnly pledged to lead our Volk and in 
particular the German worker into a better economic future. Today, after they 
have had nearly fourteen years to keep their promise, they cannot cite a single 
German professional group as witness for the quality of their actions. 

The German peasant has become impoverished; the Mittelstand is ruined; 
the social hopes of many millions of people are destroyed; one third of all 
German men and women of working age is unemployed and thus without 
income; the Reich, the communities, and the Lander are overindebted; finances 
are in a muddle across the board; and all the coffers are empty! 

What more could they possibly have destroyed? The worst thing, though, is 
the destruction of the faith in our Volk, the elimination of all hopes and all 
confidence. In thirteen years they have not succeeded in mobilizing in any way 
the powers slumbering in our Volk; on the contrary! 

Out of their fear of the awakening of the nation, they have played people 
off against one another: the city against the country, the salaried workers against 
the civil servants, those who work with their hands against those who work 
with their brains, the Bavarians against the Prussians, the Catholics against the 
Protestants, and so forth, and vice versa. 

The activism of our race was entirely consumed at home; outwardly, only 
fantasies remained: fantastic hopes of a cultural conscience, a law of nations, a 
world conscience, ambassador conferences, the League of Nations, the second 
Internationale, the third Internationale, proletarian solidarity, etc. — and the 
world treated us accordingly. 

Thus Germany has slowly disintegrated, and only a madman can still hope 
that those forces which first caused this disintegration might now bring about 
the resurrection. If the present parties seriously want to save Germany, why 
have they not done so already? Had they wanted to save Germany, why has it 
not happened? Had the men of these parties honestly intended to do so, then 
their programs must have been bad. If, however, their programs were right, then 
either their desire cannot have been sincere, or they must have been too ignorant 
or too weak. 

Now, after thirteen years, after they have destroyed everything in 
Germany, the time has finally arrived for their own elimination. Whether or not 
today's parliamentary parties exist or not is of no consequence; what is, 
however, necessary is that the German nation be prevented from falling 
completely into ruin. 

Therefore it is a duty to vanquish these parties, for in order to secure their 
own existence, they must tear the nation apart over and over again. 

For years they have persuaded the German worker into believing that he 
alone could save himself. Fooled the peasant for years by claiming that only his 
organization would help him. 

The Mittelstand was to be snatched from the jaws of ruin by parties of the 
Mittelstand; the economy by the parties of business. The Catholic was forced to 
seek his refuge with the Center, the Protestant with the Christian Socialist 
People's Service. In the end even the houseowners had their own political 
representation, just as did the tenants, the salaried workers, and the civil 
servants. 

143 



July 15, 1932 

However, these attempts at breaking the nation down into classes, ranks, 
professions, and confessions and at leading it piece by piece to the economic 
good fortune of the future have now failed completely. 

Even on the day our National Socialist Movement was founded, we were 
already governed by the conviction that the fate of the German individual is 
inseparably bound up with the fate of the entire nation. 

When Germany disintegrates, the worker will not flourish in social good 
fortune and neither will the entrepreneur; the peasant will not save himself then; 
nor will the Mittelstand. 

No, the ruin of the Reich, the disintegration of the nation, means the ruin 
and the disintegration of all! 

Not a single confession and not a single German tribe will be able to escape 
sharing the same lot. 

Even on the day our National Socialist Movement was founded, we had 
already long been certain that it was not the proletariat which would be victor 
over the bourgeoisie, and not the bourgeoisie which would be victor over the 
proletariat, but that international big finance must ultimately become the sole 
victor over both. And that is what has come to pass! 

Recognizing this disintegration, thirteen years ago I took a handful of 
people and formed a new movement which in its very name is to be a 
proclamation of the new Volksgemeinschaft. 

There is no such thing as socialism which does not have the power of the 
spirit at its disposal; no such thing as social good fortune which is not protected 
by — and even finds its prerequisite in — the power of a nation. 

And there is no such thing as a nation — and thus no such thing as 
nationalism — if the army of millions who work with their intellects are not 
joined by the army of millions who work with their fists, the army of millions 
of peasants. 

As long as Nationalism and Socialism march as separate ideas, they will be 
defeated by the united forces of their opponents. On that day when both ideas 
are molten into one, they will become invincible! 

And who will deny that, in a time when everything in Germany is falling 
apart and degenerating, when everything in the business world and political life 
is reaching a standstill or coming to an end, a single organization has experienced 
an enormous and miraculous upturn? 

With seven men I began this task of German unification thirteen years ago, 
and today over thirteen million are standing in our ranks. However, it is not the 
number that counts, but its inner value! 

Thirteen million people of all professions and ranks — thirteen million 
workers, peasants, and intellectuals; thirteen million Catholics and Protestants; 
members of all German Lander and tribes — have formed an inseparable alliance. 
And thirteen million have recognized that the future of all lies only in the joint 
struggle and the joint successes of all. 

Millions of peasants have now realized that the important thing is not that 
they comprehend the necessity of their own existence; rather, it is necessary to 
enlighten the other professions and walks of life as to the German peasant, and 
to win them for his cause. 

144 



July 15, 1932 

And millions of workers have similarly realized today that, in spite of all the 
theories, their future lies not in some "Internationale" but in the realization on 
the part of their other Volksgenossen that, without German peasants and 
German workers, there simply is no German power. 

And millions of bourgeois intellectuals, too, have come to the realization of 
how insignificant their own illusions are if the masses of millions comprising the 
rest of the Volk do not finally comprehend the importance of the German 
intellectual class. 

Thirteen years ago we National Socialists were mocked and derided— today 
our opponents' laughter has turned to tears! 

A faithful community of people has arisen which will gradually overcome 
the prejudices of class madness and the arrogance of rank. A faithful community 
of people which is resolved to take up the fight for the preservation of our race, 
not because it is made up of Bavarians or Prussians or men from Wiirttemberg 
or Saxony; not because they are Catholics or Protestants, workers or civil 
servants, bourgeois or salaried workers, etc., but because all of them are 
Germans. 

Within this feeling of inseparable solidarity, mutual respect has grown, and 
from this respect has come an understanding, and from this understanding the 
tremendous power which moves us all. 

We National Socialists thus march into every election with the single 
commitment that we will, the following day, once more take up our work for 
the inner reorganization of our body politic. 

For we are not fighting merely for the mandates or the ministerial posts, but 
rather for the German individual, whom we wish to and shall join together once 
more to inseparably share a single common destiny. 

The Almighty, Who has allowed us in the past to rise from seven men to 
thirteen million in thirteen years, will further allow these thirteen million to 
once become a German Volk. It is in this Volk that we believe, for this Volk we 
fight; and if necessary, it is to this Volk that we are willing, as the thousands of 
comrades before us, to commit ourselves body and soul. 

If the nation does its duty, then the day will come which restores to us: one 
Reich in honor and freedom — work and bread! 

Hitler's new speechmaking campaign was launched on July 15 in 
East Prussia with two addresses in Tilsit and Gumbinnen. 171 Speeches in 
Lotzen, Ortelsburg, Osterrode and Riesenburg followed on July 16. 172 

The following day Hitler spoke at a mass rally in Konigsberg. 173 All 
told, in the course of these three days his words reached more than 
200,000 people. From Konigsberg he sent a telegram of protest to 
Hindenburg, Papen, Schleicher, and Reich Minister of the Interior 
Freiherr von Gayl, objecting to the harassing behavior of a police officer 
toward the SA when its divisions marched in Konigsberg. 

On July 19, Hitler delivered a campaign speech in Schneidemuhl 
before a crowd of 40,000. 174 The same day he addressed an election rally 

145 



July 19, 1932 

in Cottbus. 175 There he also conferred with Rbhm, Goring, and 
Goebbels 176 on the appointment of a Reich Commissar in Prussia. Hitler 
proceeded by plane to Stralsund the same day to speak there before tens 
of thousands. However, bad weather conditions forced the plane to 
make a stopover and Hitler did not arrive at the rally until 2:00 a.m. He 
nonetheless delivered his twohour address to a drenched but patient 
gathering of followers. 177 

On July 20, Hitler visited the giant flying boat 'Dornier Do X' 178 at 
the harbor in Warnemiinde and then boarded his plane for 
SchleswigHolstein. 

His first speech was delivered in Kiel (Festhalle); then he flew to 
Hamburg, spoke at the Viktoria Sports Field, and proceeded to 
Liineburg for another rally. 

Hitler's last speech of the day was delivered late in the evening at the 
Weser Stadium in Bremen, where he stated: 179 

For me it will be easier to answer before history for the destruction of thirty 
parties than for those who founded them. 

Shortly before Hitler had landed in Bremen, he had given the 
crowds gathered in the Weser Stadium an effective demonstration of his 
Promethean qualities. He had instructed the pilot to circle over the 
stadium in the dark night sky with the cabin illuminated. The result was 
an eerie, otherworldly scene, and many in the audience were left with 
the impression that Hitler had actually descended to earth as a sort of 
god. What had been conceived as mere fantasy by Benson in his book, 
The Lord of the World, lw seemed to become reality. 

July 20, 1932 was also a special day for Chancellor von Papen. The 
election campaign had been marked by a number of bloody 
confrontations between National Socialists and Communists, above all 
in Prussia. 181 Hitler demanded that the Reich take action against the 
Social Democratic Government under Braun, arguing that he was 
ostensibly no longer able to maintain law and order. On July 20, with the 
aid of Article 48, Papen had Hindenburg appoint him Reich Commissar 
for the Land of Prussia in order to "restore public safety and order" 182 and 
was thereby granted express authorization to dismiss the members of the 
Prussian State Ministry from office. A state of emergency was proclaimed 
for Berlin and Brandenburg and the executive power transferred to the 
Reich Minister of Defense or rather, at his orders, to the Commander of 
Wehrkreis III, Lieutenant General von Rundstedt. 183 A few Reichswehr 
officers and troops sufficed to remove the Prussian Minister-President, 

146 



July 20, 1932 

Otto Braun; Minister of the Interior, Carl Severing; Berlin Police Chief, 
Grzesinski; his second-in-command, Weiss; and the head of the 
Schutzpolizei, Heimannsberg — all staunch Social Democrats — from 
office, i.e. to arrest them in their chambers. Several Oberprasidenten and 
police chiefs in the Prussian provinces were declared dismissed from 
office. Things quieted down, and the military state of emergency could 
be lifted by noon of July 26. 

It appeared that von Papen was fulfilling Hitler's every wish. 
However, July 20 had revealed a fundamental difference between Hitler 
and von Papen's Cabinet. 

It was Hitler's desire to have the caretaker Government in Prussia 
dislodged so that he could take over the Prussian Government 
constitutionally in some way or another, if necessary by means of a 
coalition with the Center. 

On the other hand, the reactionary Reich Government planned to 
turn the temporary measure taken on July 20— which, according to the 
Constitution, was to be upheld only until public safety and order had 
been restored — into a permanent institution. The existence of two 
governments in Berlin, i.e. the Reich Government and, from 1919 
onwards, the Social Democratic Prussian Land Government, had long 
been a thorn in the side of conservative circles in Germany. They 
preferred the constellation which had existed in imperial Germany but 
which was now prohibited by the Constitution, namely that the Reich 
Government be identical to the Prussian Government. It soon became 
evident that von Papen, whose office as Reich Commissar for the Land 
of Prussia should actually have expired when the state of emergency was 
lifted, by no means contemplated relinquishing power in Prussia. This 
constituted an open invitation for a coup d'etat. 

On July 20, a dangerous course had been set— a course which 
constituted a threat not only to the continued existence of the Weimar 
democracy, but also to Hitler, who had based his tactics on 
constitutional premises. The question now was whether Hindenburg 
would be amenable to further steps taken by the Papen Government in 
violation of the Constitution, e.g. the elimination of the Reichstag. 

For the present, Hitler's fate was hinged upon the outcome of the 
Reichstag election on July 31. He avidly resumed his speechmaking 
campaign, delivering addresses on July 21 in Hanover, Braunschweig, 
and Gottingen; 184 on July 22 in Liegnitz, Waldenburg, Neisse, and 
Gleiwitz; 185 on July 23 in Zittau, Bautzen, Dresden, Leipzig, and 
Dessau; 186 on July 24 in Elberfeld, Duisburg, Gladbeck, Bochum, and 

147 



July 24, 1932 

Osnabrtick; 187 on July 26 at the Kyffhauser Monument, in Erfurt, Gera, 
and Hildburghausen; 188 on July 27 in Eberswalde, Brandenburg, and 
Berlin (Grunewald Stadium); 189 on July 28 in Aachen, Cologne, 
Frankfurt am Main (Festhalle), and Wiesbaden (Sports Grounds); 190 on 
July 29 in Reutlingen, Neustadt an der Hardt, Freiburg im Breisgau, and 
Radolfzell; 191 and on July 30 in Kempten, Bayreuth, Nuremberg, and 
Munich. 192 

The outcome of the election on July 31 brought bitter 
disappointment for Hitler: in spite of his enormous efforts and untiring 
oratory, he had received only a few votes more than on the second 
ballot in the presidential election of April 10. Although the NSDAP was 
the strongest party (230 deputies) with a constituency of 13.7 million 
ballots (37.3 percent of the votes), the German Nationalists had obtained 
only 2.1 million votes (37 deputies), thus putting a right-wing 
government out of reach. The block comprised of Social Democrats and 
the Center stood strong; all the more so since these voters felt they had 
been singularly rebuffed by von Papen's Cabinet. The Communist 
mandates increased from 77 to 89. 

It had become evident that, in spite of Hitler's consummate rhetoric, 
he was unable to attract the majority of the voters to his cause. The 
dream of seizing power legally by means of plebiscites had evaporated. 

The only victory on this July 31 was the outcome of the Landtag 
election in Thuringia, which had afforded the possibility of instituting a 
right-wing government under National Socialist leadership. 

The proclamations Hitler delivered to his adherents on the election 
outcome of July 31 were terse and weak: 193 

To the Party: 

A great victory has been won. The National Socialist German Workers' 
Party has now risen to become by far the strongest party of the German 
Reichstag. This development, standing unique in the history of our Volk, is the 
result of tremendous efforts, of constant persistence. This greatest triumph of 
our Movement does not mean that anyone should be given thanks; rather we all 
are called upon to do our duty of taking up and continuing the struggle with 
renewed and increased strength. 

Adolf Hitler 

To the Men of the SA and SS, and to the Members of the NSKK and HJ: 
A tremendous victory has been won. Many comrades have made it possible 

with the most difficult sacrifices. The dead signify a sacred duty for us to now 

resume the struggle for Germany's liberation all the more. 

Adolf Hitler 

148 



August 10, 1932 

There was a single ray of hope left to Hitler: perhaps the 
Government would seek a reconciliation with him after all or propose 
a parliamentary compromise with the NSDAP, the German 
Nationalists, and the Center. 

Von Papen's Cabinet was not wholly satisfied with the outcome of the 
election. The Chancellor had entertained the hope that his initial measures 
toward alleviating the economic crisis and his— albeit undeserved— success 
at the Conference of Lausanne (final installment of three billion marks for 
reparations) would also have a positive bearing on the election results for 
the German Nationalist Party. He had also believed that the Center voters 
would more readily cast their ballots for a former deputy of the Center 
Party — i.e. himself. But annoyed by what they viewed as Briining's 
elimination and Hindenburg's disloyalty, they were by no means willing 
to vote for a disloyal renegade such as von Papen. 

On the other hand, the Government viewed the election results, 
which had given a clear majority neither to the right nor to the left, as 
a confirmation of their own mandate to form an all-party presidential 
cabinet. Hence they were resolved to stay in power; indeed, even more 
so because von Papen, this charming Catholic and former Captain of the 
Uhlans, 194 had succeeded in winning Hindenburg's special favor. 

The general feeling was that no particular consideration need be 
taken of Hitler. If he insisted, he could be given the office of Vice 
Chancellor. 

According to the Constitution of the Reich, the Chancellor alone 
determined policy. There were no provisions granting a "Vice 
Chancellor" any amount of influence; he was merely to act as a "deputy 
chancellor" who could only then exercise any power when the 
Chancellor was absent or incapacitated by illness. This post was 
normally assumed by the senior minister or one of the other ministers 
in the Cabinet. But even in this case, policy decisions were made by the 
Chancellor. Von Papen's intention in creating a special ministerial post 
for a "Vice Chancellor" was to placate the National Socialists, should 
they join the Cabinet, with an illustrious-sounding but ineffectual post. 
The Reich Government believed Hitler was so naive that he would 
stumble into this trap. It is the irony of fate that von Papen of all people, 
the very person who had wanted to shelve Hitler in the powerless 
position of Vice Chancellor in 1932, was later to be named Hitler's own 
"Vice Chancellor." 

The first few days in August were spent in exploratory talks. Hitler 
met with Schleicher on August 15 195 and informed him of his claims in 

149 



August 10, 1932 

respect to forming the Government. His principal aims were quite clear: 
he wanted the positions with the greatest concentration of power — the 
Chancellorship and the Ministry of the Interior. In the Lander in which 
National Socialists were involved in the Government (Thuringia, 
Brunswick, Anhalt, Oldenburg, and Mecklenburg), the NSDAP had 
laid claim to and been awarded these posts. Only in those Lander in 
which they did not constitute the strongest coalition party had they 
permitted, for the time being, the other right-wing parties to designate 
the head of government. However, the post of Minister of the Interior 
and the Police had gone to the NSDAP without exception. On a 
national scale, little influence was attached to the position of Reich 
Minister of the Interior, for he had no police forces under his control. 
Only with the emergency decree of February 28, 1933 was the Reich 
Minister of the Interior granted significant powers. 

Hence these two posts — the Chancellorship and the Ministry of the 
Interior — comprised Hitler's minimum claims. His interest in the other 
offices remained, for the time being, less pressing. 

It was false, however, to assume that the head of the strongest party 
in the Reichstag would relinquish his claim to head the Government: 
this would have meant an enormous loss of image he could not afford in 
the eyes of his followers. 

Schleicher, the smooth tactician, refrained from uttering any 
definitive statement on the demands of the National Socialists. Hitler 
returned to the Obersalzberg and left further negotiations in Berlin to 
his Chief of Staff, Rohm. 

Rumors of disputes within party leadership began circulating 
throughout the country. As was later discovered, Gregor Strasser had 
been overly ambitious to assume a ministerial post. 196 Hitler's denial of 
August 10 was characteristically shrewd: it served also to disclose his 
current whereabouts, thus robbing the Reich Government of the excuse 
of having delayed negotiations with him because he could not be 
located. 197 

Fictitious accounts are momentarily circulating in the press as to a 
"fragmentation" within the leadership of the National Socialist Party and the 
"opposition" which is allegedly being brought to bear against me by individual 
leaders, Dr. Goebbels, Gregor Strasser, etc. These reports are too silly to even 
require a denial. 

I desire here only to make it known that I am not presently in Berlin at a 
new "headquarters" in the Badensche Strasse, but have been in the Bavarian 
mountains with Dr. Goebbels and the other leaders of the Movement since the 
end of the election campaign. 

150 



August 10, 1932 

Curious reporters will find out soon enough which decisions the Party has 
made for the future. 

August 10, 1932 Adolf Hitler 

The claim made by the correspondent for the English newspaper 
News Chronicle, Davenport, to the effect that he had interviewed Hitler 
had already been denied in the Volkischer Beobachter on August 5. 198 

In Berlin, Rohm continued to explore possibilities. On August 11, 
Hitler decided to travel to Berlin himself. It is not clear whether he was 
summoned by the Reich Government or went of his own volition. 199 In 
any case, a decision had to be made, for pressure from the Cabinet was 
mounting as well. 

Hitler arrived with Rohm at the Reich Ministry of Defense at 10:00 
a.m. on August 13 to meet Schleicher. There it quickly became evident 
that there was no intention of making Hitler Chancellor, and the 
subsequent conference with von Papen in the Reich Chancellory only 
served to make clearer that no change was being contemplated. 

Negotiations had already failed. The Kolnische Zeitung, partial to 
Papen, received the following telegram at midday from its 
correspondent in Berlin: 200 

Today Hitler declared at his discussion with the Reich Minister of Defense 
that he was forced to adhere to his claim to the office of Chancellor as leader of 
the largest German party. It is known that it was the Chancellor's intention to 
grant the National Socialists two and, if necessary, three seats in the Reich 
Government; the newly instituted office of Vice Chancellor and the Ministry of 
the Interior. The office of Vice Chancellor is to be connected to the post of 
Prussian Minister-President. 201 For the time being, it is not clear whether Hitler 
himself or one of his trusted party comrades 202 is to assume the office of Vice 
Chancellor. In the following meeting with the Reich Chancellor, Hitler 
continued to uphold his claim to the leadership of the Reich Government and 
rejected all other proposals. 

In the opinion of persons involved, the negotiations have now all but failed. 
It is expected that neither the present pause in negotiations nor Hitler's visit to 
Hindenburg will suffice to change this state of affairs. Thus Hitler's talk with 
Hindenburg, which is scheduled for this afternoon, is now regarded as having 
merely formal significance. 

The Kolnische Zeitung quite accurately described the situation at 
noon on August 13. Also acutely aware of the state of affairs, Hitler no 
longer wanted to see Hindenburg at all. 203 However, the Reich 
Government placed great value on Hitler's visit, intending to 
compromise him before the Reich President for having broken his 
promise to tolerate the Cabinet. 

151 



August 13, 1932 

State Secretary Meissner telephoned Goebbels' apartment at 3:40 
p.m. in order to ascertain Hitler's whereabouts and, under the false 
pretense that no decision had yet been made, lured him to the 
Wilhelmstrasse. Hitler was received by Hindenburg at 4:30 p.m. in the 
presence of von Papen and Schleicher. Naturally there was no question 
of inviting Hitler to become Chancellor; instead he was made to feel 
singularly unwelcome and, still standing, was censured by Hindenburg 
for claiming for himself "complete power" 204 and admonished to 
conduct any opposition in a chivalrous manner. 

Hitler, who had hardly been given the chance to say anything at all, 
was ushered out onto the street within a matter of minutes. The 
situation was obvious: von Papen and Schleicher had taken him for a 
ride! Not only in front of Hindenburg, but in front of the general public 
as well, he had been found unfit for the office of head of government. 
The party he held responsible for this humiliation was — certainly not 
without some justification — Schleicher, for he had been the one with 
whom Hitler had held so many confidential talks in the preceding 
months. He swore to take bloody revenge as soon as the occasion 
afforded. 205 

The following official account was published of Hitler's reception 
by Hindenburg: 206 

On Saturday afternoon, Reich President von Hindenburg received the 
leader of the NSDAP, Adolf Hitler, in the presence of Reich Chancellor von 
Papen in order to discuss the political situation and the question of 
reconstituting the Reich Government. 

The Reich President inquired whether Hitler was personally willing to enter 
a government headed by Reich Chancellor von Papen along with other suitable 
figures in the NSDAP. Herr Hitler replied in the negative and demanded that 
the Reich President assign to him the full leadership of the Reich Government 
and the entire state authority. 

Reich President von Hindenburg firmly rejected this proposal, citing as a 
reason that he could not answer to his conscience and his duties to the Vaterland 
if he assigned the entire power of the Government exclusively to the National 
Socialist Movement, which was determined to make one-sided use of same. He 
regretted that Herr Hitler did not feel able to adhere to the statements he himself 
had submitted prior to the Reichstag elections to the effect that he would support 
a Reich Government which enjoyed the confidence of the Reich President. 

The talks concluded with a serious exhortation by the Reich President to 
Hitler to conduct NSDAP opposition, which he had announced, in a chivalrous 
manner and to remain conscious of his responsibility to the Vaterland and to the 
German Volk. 

In the morning, prior to the Reich President's reception, a conference had 
taken place between the Reich Chancellor and Herr Hitler. In the course of this 

152 



August 13, 1932 

talk, the Reich Chancellor had offered to propose Herr Hitler as Vice 
Chancellor in the present Government and furthermore to entrust important 
political and departmental ministries to several other figures in the National 
Socialist Movement, thereby granting this movement influence 207 on the 
leadership of the state proportionate to its size. 

The Press Office of the NSDAP Reich leadership published the 
following statement: 

On Saturday the Fiihrer was asked to attend discussions with Reich 
Chancellor von Papen and, subsequent thereto, with Reich President von 
Hindenburg. In reply to the question proposed to him as to whether he and the 
Party were willing to join von Papen's Government, the Fiihrer declared: We 
are determined and resolved to assume the entire responsibility for German 
politics in every way if the definitive leadership of the Government is entrusted 
to us in exchange. If this is not the case, the National Socialist Movement can 
assume neither a part of the power nor a part of the responsibility; in particular, 
it is out of the question for the Party to enter von Papen's Government. 
However, since Reich President von Hindenburg has refused to entrust the 
National Socialist Movement with the leadership of government, the 
negotiations were broken off without any conclusions having been reached. 

The measures to be taken now in order to continue the struggle of the 
National Socialist Movement shall be disclosed in a meeting of the leaders to be 
held this week. The Fiihrer had left Berlin by Saturday evening. 

A statement will be forthcoming from the NSDAP in respect to the official 
communique on the interchange between Hitler, Hindenburg, and von Papen, 
which contains several not insignificant errors. 

Regardless of how unfavorable the decision of August 13 appeared, 
it did place Hitler in a position to announce political war against von 
Papen's Cabinet. That same day he took respective action. The most 
pressing task consisted of placating and sending home the SA men— who 
had expected Hitler to assume power— and award them the promised 
"work and bread," so that the Government was not given any excuse for 
imposing a new ban on the SA or taking even harsher action against the 
Party. Thus he immediately gave Rohm the order to announce that the 
SA was to be given two weeks' vacation. The Chief of Staff disposed of 
this task in a quite ingeniously worded proclamation. 208 In contrast to 
Strasser, Rohm proved his loyalty to Hitler when difficult situations 
arose. There are no grounds to believe that Rohm or the SA had planned 
a coup in summer or fall of 1932 without Hitler's consent. The Stennes 
Crisis 209 of 1931 was over, and Hitler had the SA completely under 
control. 

The NSDAP's statement in response to the Government's official 
communique on Hitler's meeting with Hindenburg on August 13 was 

153 



August 16, 1932 

published in the form of an interview which Hitler granted to a 
"representative" of the Rheinisch-Westfalische Zeitung 210 on August 16. 
The interview read as follows: 

Question: is it true that, after the talk with Reich Chancellor von Papen, you did 
not wish to see Reich President von Hindenburg? Why did you then allow yourself to 
he moved to comply with Hindenburg's request for a visit after all? 

Answer: As long as the present Reich Government has not resigned, the 
Reich Chancellor bears the responsibility for politics. This also applies in the 
event that a reorganization of the Cabinet is planned and the head of the 
Government is the one who is endeavoring to bring about that reorganization. 
Only at that point when the Government resigns does the responsibility fall 
upon the Reich President to then — if the Constitution is at all valid — institute 
the formation of a new government in accordance with it. I regard bringing in 
the Reich President in the course of forming a government as an instance of 
shifting the responsibility from the shoulders of the Reich Chancellor to the 
shoulders of the Reich President. 

Incidentally, I did not travel to Berlin of my own accord. I was summoned. 
The Reich Government suggested to me that a new government be formed 
which as Fiihrer of the National Socialist Movement I was forced to reject in the 
form proposed. I stated the requirements under which the National Socialist 
Party would be prepared to join the government. I was informed by the Reich 
Chancellor personally that these conditions had been rejected by the Reich 
President from the start. Thus I had even less reason to pay this visit, for I had 
not in any way attempted to force myself upon the gentlemen in Berlin. 

Thus I stated that, in my view, the responsibility for the failure to 
reorganize the government was naturally to be borne by Reich Chancellor von 
Papen; that therefore it was out of the question for me to visit Hindenburg; and 
that I would only be willing to pay a visit to the Reich President if he had not 
yet made a final decision but rather desired to become acquainted for the time 
being with the various positions. However, as it was to become evident, this was 
not the case. The decision of the Reich President had already been made. 

The fact that I nonetheless went to see the Reich President was due only to 
a message relayed by telephone to Minister Frick from the State Secretary of the 
Reich Chancellory, once more to the effect that the Reich President had not yet 
made such a decision. In reality, fifteen minutes earlier the Reich Chancellory 
had confirmed to the press the actuality of the decision of the Reich President, 
which had already been made, noting at the same time that my visit was to be 
accorded merely formal significance and could no longer have any affect. 

The Reich President himself then also declared that his decision had already 
become final! 

Question: Is it true that you abstained from presenting your position to 
Hindenburg? 

Answer: It is correct that I abstained from presenting my position to 
Hindenburg, for the curious method I just described which was used to persuade 
me to visit Reich President von Hindenburg, coupled with the fact of 

154 



August 16, 1932 

the Reich President's final verdict, gave me no cause to make repeated use of the 
arguments I had already expounded to the responsible political leader. 

Question: Herr Hitler, your Party scored a sensational victory in the Reichstag 
election. Never before has a party of comparable size existed in Germany. In every 
other country it would be a matter of course that the leader of the largest party be 
assigned the task of forming a new government. Why, in your opinion, doesn't Herr 
von Papen take the logical steps? 

Answer: Certainly, in Germany it used to be normal that the leader of the 
largest party was given the task of forming a cabinet. More recently, though, 
statesmanlike capabilities appear to be determined no longer by the largeness but 
rather by the smallness of the parties. Since we National Socialists have become 
a large force, any politician who wants to become a master among these masters 
must either have ruined a party or, what is even more effective, no longer have 
any party at all behind him. Politics is thus no longer the art of the possible, but 
has become the art of the impossible. Incidentally, the Movement does not owe 
its present size to the patronizing support of traditionladen figures in our 
political life who are dying off. Therefore it will not draw its strength in future 
from these sources either. 

Question: Herr Hitler, how do you think von Papen s Government will be 
capable of working if it can no longer count on the patient and passive behavior of 
the strongest party in Germany? 

Answer: My dear Sir, you will have to address that question to Herr von 
Papen. For my part, I know in which way I and my Movement will continue 
fighting. 

Question: In your opinion, what consequences will it have for developments in 
Germany if von Papen s Government does in fact continue to hold the reigns for 
some time? 

Answer: I approached von Papen's Government, the members of which I 
had, for the most part, never met, as I have approached and will approach every 
government calling itself a national government. I will support or tolerate it at 
least as long as I can perceive in its governmental practice a strengthening of the 
national front and a weakening of the Marxist front. As soon as measures taken 
by the Government cause the national side to falter and the international side to 
be stimulated, I will reject it, regardless of which men are involved. Basically, it 
is my conviction that every government which does not have a solid 
weltanschaulich footing in a fundamental movement of its Volk must and will fail. 

The governmental practice of the current Reich Government will, in my 
view, lead to chaos. 

Question: Is it correct, Herr Hitler, that you have announced that the NSDAP 
will conduct the most rigorous opposition to von Papen's Government? 

Answer: The National Socialist Movement is going into opposition against 
the current Reich Government. Just how rigorous this opposition is, will be 
determined by the size of the damages which would be incurred in the absence 

155 



August 16, 1932 

of an opposition. In this connection, the elections of July 31 have already clearly 
shown the direction in which von Papen's Government with the men presently 
in office will and must lead. Even a dictatorship is only conceivable when it 
represents the will of the Volk or has every prospect of being acknowledged in 
the near or foreseeable future as representing the will of the Volk. But I know 
of not a single dictatorship in world history which has succeeded in completely 
transforming itself into a new and recognized type of state which has not 
evolved out of a Volksbewegung. 

Question: Don't you think that it would be better for the NSDAP to have one 
bird in the hand rather than two in the bush? 

Answer: Nein. I will never give away a birthright for a song. In matters of 
principle, I would rather take on any fight and any persecution than ever be 
untrue to myself or the Movement. I believe that, in this degenerated and 
unprincipled age, it is important to show people that a movement is pursuing 
the goal it has set unerringly and unalterably, without consideration to 
momentary advantages or disadvantages to its leading figures. One cannot 
require heroism from a nation when its political leaders are ready to make any, 
even the cheapest compromise. This is tantamount to cultivating, from the top 
downwards, that spirit of lack of dignity in a Volk which then, even in the last 
fateful questions, regards an act of submission as being a "bearable" compromise. 

Question: How did the leaders accompanying you in Berlin react to your 
decision? 

Answer: My leaders would never have understood me had I acted any 
differently. Even if I make a hundred mistakes in practical matters, they would 
forgive me more easily for that than were I only once to deny the honor of the 
Movement or the principles of our struggle. Today more than ever before, they 
are behind me as a single man. 

Question: Herr Hitler, how do you think your decision will be taken by 
the members of the NSDAP? 

Answer: The members of the Party and my followers have heard from my 
own mouth a hundred times that I will never make compromises which are 
unbearable for the Movement. They know that I am willing at all times, if 
necessary, to give my life for the Movement. They know that hundreds of 
thousands of our comrades are doing the same thing and that thousands are 
making serious sacrifices. All that would be pointless if now suddenly the 
Movement could be lent out for a program other than its own. You ask what 
the party comrades and followers think? When I left Berlin that night, a large 
crowd of people surrounded my car and called out to me. I only remember two 
of the sentences, which I wish our banners would bear for all time: "Don't give 
in!" and "Stand firm!" 

Question: How many acts of terrorism are being committed against your party 
comrades? According to my information, at the beginning of the year alone they 
numbered thousands. What does the Movement contemplate doing in order to protect 
its adherents from the daily acts of terrorism against the National Socialists still 
taking place under von Papen's Government? 

156 



August 16, 1932 

Answer: The acts of terrorism practiced by the Marxist parties against our 
Movement now number tens of thousands. The number of dead is more than 
300; 211 the number of injured last year was more than 6,000, but in the seven and 
a half months of this year, this figure has already exceeded 8,200. 

Countless comrades have been crippled and will remain so for the rest of 
their lives. In the past, our governments and the press— if I leave out very few 
papers, of which yours is one — have never taken any interest in these matters. 
At the most, if a National Socialist defended himself in order to save his life, he 
was made out to be the aggressor in the end and even sentenced on top of it. In 
this regard, I am not counting the terrible acts of persecution against the Party 
by the police which have, in a single city — namely Dortmund — finally been 
punished in court and thus been acknowledged as having taken place. On the 
day of the election, without warning, one of these red murderers slashed the 
throat of one of our comrades with a razor in broad daylight in Konigsberg, for 
no reason at all. The poor man died a wretched death. The press, which 
normally makes a fuss about every single villain, took hardly any notice. 
Though, mind you, the bourgeois newspapers and the governments instantly 
came awake when calls for revenge came from the cup now filled to overflowing 
with indignation and wrath! Now that the party comrades who are in 
permanent danger of being killed have finally begun to retaliate, the value of 
human life has suddenly been discovered, but they do not now join forces 
against the red plague of murderers, no: they join forces against the "general 
political acts of terror." 

You ask what we contemplate doing to stop this? 

There is such a thing as a right of self-defense, and we will not be talked into 
giving it up for long by the stupid cliches of "law and order." This pitiful 
bourgeois prattle will not bring my dead comrade back to life, will not make a 
cripple healthy again, will not do any good to the injured. The National Socialist 
Movement has fought legally to the utmost, but unless this butchering soon 
comes to an end, I will be forced to decree a right of self-defense to the party 
comrades which will then — let there be no doubt — instantly do away with these 
red Cheka methods. 

I may add that, at times like these throughout history, police regulations 
have always failed. No further proof is necessary to show that the situation in 
Germany today is no different. 

Question: What do you view as the next steps for your Party? 
Answer: The Party is fighting for power. Its steps are determined by the 
fighting methods of our opponents, 

Question: Your Movement is not seriously regarded anywhere as reactionary or 
unsocial. How can it be that, despite this, the parties which are most rigorous in 
attacking von Papen's Government as the "Cabinet of Barons" for being reactionary 
and unsocial, today welcome the fact that this government is not being replaced by a 
National Socialist Government, i.e. by men who come from all classes of the Volk? 

Answer: Oh, you are quite mistaken! Certain right-wing circles call us 
Bolshevists, and the Bolshevists in turn claim that we are reactionaries, barons, 

157 



August 16, 1932 

big-business capitalists, slaves of industry, and God knows what else. The fact 
that the enemies of the German Volk both at home and abroad are happy that 
no reorganization will take place in the Government is a great honor for the 
Party. The fact that they sigh in relief that I have not become Chancellor is a 
great honor for me. The Marxist enemies of Germany at home know, after 
having betrayed the German Volk for years, that the National Socialist 
Movement will in fact honestly look after the German working man. The 
bourgeois reactionaries know that we will replace their policy of weakness with 
a policy of national strength. Both suspect that the age of class and rank conflict 
is coming to an end and that the unity of the German Volk will once more be 
restored to it on the platform of National Socialist thought. 

Hitler repeated these arguments once more in an interview with a 
representative of the American news agency Associated Press 212 and, 
asked whether one might indeed witness a march on Berlin r la 
Mussolini, he replied: 

Why should I march on Berlin? I'm already there! The question is not who 
will march on Berlin, but rather who will march out of Berlin. The SA will not 
take part in an illegal march. 

Hitler also expounded his position at a convention of party leaders 
in Munich (Reichsadler Hotel) on August 15 213 and met with no 
contradiction. He had declared an open war against von Papen's 
Cabinet. Now all he needed was an opportunity to effectively 
demonstrate this to his followers and the entire Volk. This arose on 
August 22, when a special court in Beuthen set up by von Papen's 
Government passed a death sentence on five National Socialists who had 
beaten a Polish Communist from Potempa to death. 

With the Reich President's decree of August 9, 214 von Papen had 
introduced capital punishment for politically motivated manslaughter. 
Special courts were instituted to pass judgment in such cases, and fate 
would have it that National Socialists were the first to be tried by such a 
court. The motives behind the killing of the Communist Pietrzuch, who 
was regarded as a Polish insurgent, 215 were by no means clear, and it has 
not been established that they were even political. But who cared about 
the life of a Polish insurgent? Von Papen at any rate could count on the 
entire Right to react to this type of justice with righteous indignation, 
particularly since the defendants could not have been aware of the capital 
punishment decree at the time of the crime. Hitler, however, chose to 
address the following telegram to his condemned comrades: 216 

My dear comrades! In view of this outrageous Bluturted (unjust death 
sentence), I feel bound to you in unreserved loyalty. From this moment onward, 

158 



August 23, 1932 

your freedom is a question of our honor. It is our duty to fight a government 
under which this is possible! 

Adolf Hitler 
He also issued the following appeal: 217 

National Socialists! Germans! 

In November 1918, Marxism attacked and destroyed the old Empire in a 
cursed revolt, aided and abetted by the cowardice and weakness of bourgeois 
politicians. Ever since this atrocity, Germany's misery has been unutterable. 
The counterpart to the terror of the November Criminals at home was the 
ensuing terror of our opponents from abroad. 

While the bourgeois politicians subscribed to the new system in pitiful 
obsequiousness, if not at least drawing back from it in cowardice, our National 
Socialist Movement alone has taken up the fight for our Volk's everlasting rights 
to live. 

Ever since, we have been pursued by the hatred of those very parties which, 
in the name of Marxism, have from the beginning always used violence and 
terror as standard weapons in class conflict. Their pre-war slogan, "Und willst du 
nicht Genosse sein, so schlag ich dir den Schddel eiri" lli has been upheld since the 
revolution with appalling frankness as a natural right and even recognized by 
bourgeois bureaucrat-governments. The fact that we National Socialists were 
not willing to surrender our constitutional rights of freedom of speech and 
freedom to demonstrate was interpreted as a "provocation of the proletariat" 
and thus as justification for our persecution. 

For fourteen years the public authorities of this system have, more often 
than not in a scandalously one-sided fashion, rebuked not the oppressors, but 
rather forbidden the oppressed, time and time again. Uncounted are the 
sacrifices which young Germany, possessing no other representation but the 
National Socialist Movement, has been forced to make for its ideals. 

More than 300 massacred — one could literally say, butchered — party 
comrades number among our dead martyrs. Tens of thousands and even more 
tens of thousands have been injured, and some will be crippled for the rest of 
their lives. The bourgeois constitutional state and the yellow bourgeois press 
barely took any notice. Only when the cup began to run over and the terror of 
the red bands of organized murderers and criminals became unbearable did von 
Papen's "National Government" rouse itself to take instant action. We have 
now become acquainted with the first evidence of their national will. On nearly 
the same day on which the murderers and tormentors of our party comrades in 
Ohlau escaped with mild sentences, although we suffered two dead and 27 
seriously injured, the courts of Herr von Papen's Government sentenced five 
National Socialists to death. German Volksgenossen! Whoever of you harbors 
sentiments for the fight for the honor and freedom of the nation will understand 
why I refused to join this bourgeois Government. The courts of Herr von Papen 
will ultimately sentence many thousands of National Socialists to death. Did 
they really believe that they would be able to cover up this action, an action 
which is struck with blindness and challenges the entire Volk, with my name 

159 



August 23, 1932 

as well? The gentlemen are mistaken! Herr von Papen, I will have nothing to do 
with your bloody objectivity, I wish for victory for national Germany and 
annihilation for its Marxist destroyers and corrupters. But I am not suited to be 
the hangman of the national freedom fighters of the German Volk. 

With this deed, our standpoint in respect to this national Cabinet has been 
mapped out once and for all. Whatever agony upon agony the Heavens above 
us may send, our Movement will still come to terms with this Government 
which executes our fellow fighters. Herr von Papen can feel free to set up such 
blood tribunals to pass judgment on our Movement. The power of the national 
uprising will come to terms with this system as surely as it will eliminate 
Marxism in spite of these attempts to save it. In view of this most atrocious of 
unjust death sentences, there is all the more reason for us to have only one single 
mission in life: to fight, and fight once again! 

We shall liberate the word "national" from the grip of an objectivity whose 
real innermost essence is inflamed by the judgment passed in Beuthen against 
national Germany. Herr von Papen has thus engraved his name in German 
history with the blood of national fighters. The seed which will nevertheless 
bear fruit from this will be one which can no longer be appeased by punishment. 
The fight for the lives of our five comrades begins now. 

Adolf Hitler 

This was the tone Hitler most enjoyed using when dealing with his 
opponents. The consideration he had shown to von Papen and 
Schleicher in the preceding three months was no longer necessary. 
Indeed, he was now free to brand the present rulers — as he had the 
"system" governments before them — as sounding the nation's death 
knell. They would be wise to refrain from carrying out the judgment of 
Beuthen. 

Silesian SA leader Edmund Heines, 219 who had been present when 
the judgment was pronounced, had called out in a loud voice from 
among the spectators attending the trial: "The German Volk will 
pronounce other judgments. The judgment of Beuthen will become the 
starting signal for the German awakening!" Hitler dispatched Chief of 
Staff Rohm to visit the convicted men in prison in Beuthen. Thousands 
of National Socialists demonstrated for days on the streets of Beuthen 
and Breslau, shouting: "Down with Papen's Government." 

The Reich Government had no desire to risk a civil war for the sake 
of a Polish insurgent, and thus commuted the death sentences to life 
imprisonment. 220 It had underestimated Hitler and was noticeably 
shaken by the ferocity of his threats. 

It suddenly became evident that, having broken with Hitler, the 
Cabinet enjoyed little popular support, particularly in view of Papen's 
emergency decree of June 14 which had drastically reduced social 
benefits. In the new Reichstag, the Government would be faced with 

160 



August 23, 1932 

opposition across the board, from Left to Right, from the Communists, 
the SPD, and the Center, to the National Socialists. Its only certain 
support would come from the scattering of German Nationalists' and 
the German People's Party. 

On August 29, von Papen and Schleicher attempted to reach a 
compromise in talks with Hitler in Berlin, but to no avail. Bruning also 
met with him there the same day. 221 Now that Bruning had fallen, the 
Center was no longer averse to a coalition with the National Socialists. 
At a gathering of 230 NSDAP Reichstag deputies who, on August 29, 
had congregated in Berlin in order to swear the oath of allegiance to 
their Fuhrer, 222 Hitler once again broached the subject of the judgment 
of Beuthen, stating: 

I refuse to comprehend how five National Socialists can be sent to the 
guillotine for the sake of a Polish insurgent who once fought against our 
German brothers in Silesia. Here I am not being objective, but subjective. 
Whoever struggles and lives, fights and, if it has to be, dies for Germany has 
every right; and whoever turns against Germany has no rights at all. 

Alluding to rumors that the Reich Government planned to dissolve 
the Reichstag even before any voting took place, he continued: 

Our position differs from that of our opponents in that we say: it is perhaps 
possible to govern without a Reichstag, but one cannot govern without the 
Volk. The only person capable of governing is that person who grows forth out 
of the Volk and knows this Volk. The system governing today must fail due to 
the total absence of any living bond with the Volk. 

On August 30, the newly-elected Reichstag assembled and began its 
work by receiving a statement submitted by the Communist 
Chairwoman by Seniority, Clara Zetkin. The German Nationalists 
were not in attendance. The 230 National Socialists in uniform, who 
had formerly made it a custom of heckling Marxist speakers, maintained 
silence. They were determined to demonstrate that this Reichstag 
functioned well, and they did not wish to give rise to any excuses for its 
dissolution. Subsequently, Hitler's candidate, former Captain Hermann 
Goring, 223 was elected Reichstag President with the votes of the NSDAP, 
the Center, the German Nationalists, and the DVP. Thus, the National 
Socialists now presided over one of the important offices in the Reich, 
for the head of parliament was empowered to intervene on various 
occasions, to approach the Reich President directly, etc. The palace of 
the Reichstag President now became an important base in Hitler's 
continuing struggle for power. 

161 



September 1, 1932 



On September 1, Hitler spoke in public for the first time following 
a one-month pause, 224 addressing a gathering of 20,000 in the Berlin 
Sportpalast. After sharply attacking von Papen's government and the 
Herrenklub, he once more condemned the judgment of Beuthen. 

In view of the latent tension and the possibility of a violent 
confrontation, he found it expedient to utter a statement of sympathy 
on behalf of the Reichswehr and to describe the use of armed forces in 
domestic conflicts as detestable. 225 

The Government declares that it is the one holding power; thus we confess: 
for us, the Army of the Reich does not exist for the protection of the 
government, but for the protection of the Volk. We would take care of this 
Army as never before, not only in a material, but also in a spiritual sense; we 
would place it upon a platform which every German could look up to without 
worry. And when the regiments march by, every German would say, full of 
pride: those are our soldiers, the German Volk's regiments. If a political 
regiment relies solely on the bayonet, it abuses the most valuable possession we 
have in Germany. 

In respect to the Government's threat to repeatedly dissolve the 
Reichstag, Hitler stated: 

As far as we are concerned, a hundred times! We shall nevertheless be the 
victors. I will not lose control. My will is unshakable, and I can hold out longer 
than my opponents. 

Hitler passed the time until the next session of the Reichstag on 
September 12 with a series of speeches and rallies. 

On September 2, he held a meeting with the Party's leaders in 
Berlin. 226 

On September 3, he delivered an address in Berlin at the funeral of 
SA member Gatschke, where he stated: 

Our dead will not have died in vain. 227 
162 



September 7, 1932 

An address to party leaders from the Gau Mittelfranken in 
Nuremberg followed on September 4. 228 Hitler's fears of a coup were not 
unfounded. The German Nationalists openly discussed the possibility of 
dissolving the Reichstag without scheduling a new election. Hindenburg, 
however, was averse to such experiments, wishing to uphold the 
Constitution. Only in an extreme emergency would he consent to 
dissolve the Reichstag. Hence, von Papen had no choice but to make do 
without a dissolution, and he was sufficiently optimistic to believe that 
his economic program, which contained a number of National Socialist 
ideas, would win the votes not only of the German Nationalists and the 
DVP, but those of the Center and even the National Socialists as well. 
But his hopes were crushed by Hitler's violent rejection in a public 
address in Munich (Zirkus Krone) on September 7: 229 

The hour is only ostensibly favorably disposed towards those in power 
today. The gentlemen in office believe that the German Volk is enduring for 
their sake alone and has only one fervent desire: "Dear God, please do send us 
the old Excellencies of 1914 again!" They really believe that this German Volk 
and in particular that part which we have organized and snatched from despair 
has no other hope than to finally fall under the leadership of the Herrenklub. 
They are mistaken! In the meantime we have worked for thirteen years, and by 
no means do we owe our successes to chance. 

We have adhered strictly to legality and have gradually become the 
determining factor in Germany. And now that it is no longer possible to govern 
constitutionally without us, suddenly these same gentlemen are stating that the 
Constitution and parliamentarianism have become obsolete; that the party 
system must be done away with. A new age has dawned, they say, in which these 
outmoded phenomena must be swept away. 

Well, if a new age is really coming, then we want new heads, too; then you 
can get out! In this case as well, one cannot fill old bottles with new wine. 

The new age has already come, and we welcome its arrival: the new age is 
the new German Volk which we have created! 

No, I am only holding to the pledge I was forced to make. We want to rule 
strictly in compliance with the Constitution. Mind you, we will amend the 
Constitution some day, too, but we will amend it in a strictly constitutional 
manner! One has only to look at the Government's new economic program. It 
will serve to rescue not the German Volk, but at most a few banks! 

But strangely enough, these gentlemen seem not to view the product of our 
work as so vulgar that it is not worth plundering piece by piece. Piece by piece 
our work is being exploited now ... letter by letter, word for word, but not the 
contents! Today these gentlemen boldly declare: "Who do the National 
Socialists think they are, presuming to take on this position?" Oh yes, in 1919 
and 1920, then it was possible to "presume to take on a position"! Then one had 
only to begin with nothing, to work hard and slave away. Today we say: there 
are two types of nobility: one you are born with, and the other you achieve! 

163 



September 7, 1932 

To thunderous applause, Hitler pointed down to the arena, where 
SA and SS columns stood in close ranks. 

There stands the nation's new nobility! These are the men who fought and 
struggled for thirteen years for the freedom of their Volk! 

If Herr von Papen believes today that half of the National Socialist Party no 
longer stands behind Hitler, but rather behind him, the only thing I can say is: 
dear Herr von Papen, please call a halt! You are not even capable of speaking 
well enough to persuade the Party to come to you; you would have had to 
practice for at least thirteen years! Now, I know for certain that you, Herr von 
Papen, made an appearance in our party office in Berlin only three months 
before you took office and asked: what ideas and plans does the National 
Socialist Party have? But you cannot learn that in three months, you know, 
especially if you only ask once! When people try to accuse me of identifying 
myself with murderers, I say: no, but I identify myself with my comrades! The 
men convicted in Beuthen are my comrades, because they fought with us for 
Germany. And for me, comradeship does not end if someone takes a false step! 

The five convicted men have now been granted a "reprieve" — their sentences 
have been commuted to life imprisonment. Do they really believe that it will 
take that long until we rise to power in Germany? [ — ] And I can assure these 
gentlemen now: we will rise to power! 

My picture is hanging in the cells of each of the convicted men. And I should 
be the one to betray them? [ — ] Whatever they have done wrong is something 
we will one day clarify; we will be fair judges, and they will submit to our 
judgment. But we will then also make certain that these things cannot happen 
again — not by inventing draconian punishments, but in that we remove 
elements such as the Polish insurgent Pietrzuch! 

Poland has expelled more than 900,000 Germans. 230 How many Poles has 
Germany ever expelled? 

Do you think that I would sell the Movement for a few ministerial posts? 
Do you think that I am wooing for a title? One day it will stand in my will that 
nothing but "Adolf Hitler" 231 shall be inscribed on my tombstone. I am making 
my own name the title I bear. Even Herr von Hindenburg cannot bestow a title 
upon me. I am not wooing for any title, I am only striving for leadership! 

And if people say today: you are not entitled to leadership! Fine, I will take 
up the gauntlet, you highborn Herrschafen! 

I have never waited for others to begin the offensive; I myself initiate the 
attack. If the others say that the Constitution has become outmoded, we say: the 
Constitution has only now begun to have a purpose! By virtue of it, the German 
Volk is getting a chance to speak for the first time in fourteen years. We want 
to take up the fight and want to see whom the Volk heeds: the order of Herr 
von Papen, "Everyone, about face!" or our command, "Young Germany, 
forward march!" 

In this Munich speech, Hitler also made a point of the difference in 
age between himself and Hindenburg, doing so in a manner which 
evoked little public approval. He declared: 232 

164 



September 4, 1932 

There is one advantage I have over my most illustrious opponent: the Reich 
President is 85 years old, and I am 43 and feel fit as a fiddle. 

I also have the conviction and the certain feeling that nothing can happen to 
me, for I know that Providence has chosen me to fulfill my task. My will is 
tough, unrestrained, and unshakable. And by the time I am 85 years old, Herr 
von Hindenburg will be long gone. Our turn will come. 

Whatever the Government chooses to do, whether it dissolves the Reichstag 
or not, is of no concern to us National Socialists. In the long run it will not work 
to govern with bayonets and the Reichswehr. 

In a subsequent interview with the Paris newspaper Oeuvre 1 ^ he 
stated: 

I should negotiate with von Papen? Never, as long as I am alive. I was the 
one who helped von Papen up out of the dark, where he should have stayed! 
What value do I place on a title? I am constantly in danger of falling victim to 
an assassination. And you think I should place any value on getting hold of a 
ridiculous vice chancellor portfolio? 

I am independent in every way. I do not need money. I earn enough with 
my books, at least more than I can spend. I have not changed my views. I want 
all or nothing, and if the Reich President decides to have me summoned once 
again, I will use exactly the same language to him. 

On September 10, Hitler spoke for the first time to representatives 
of the Center who had congregated in the palace of the Reichstag 
President, the residence of Hermann Goring. Although no specific 
arrangements were made regarding a possible coalition, Hitler's 
eloquence and appearance visibly impressed his listeners. 234 

Von Papen planned to present his government program at the 
Reichstag session scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on September 12. However, he 
was prevented from doing so, for the Communist deputies believed that 
von Papen already had the dissolution order in his pocket and would 
read it at the close of his speech. Deputy Torgler 235 thus moved that 
immediate votes take place on the repeal of von Papen's emergency 
decree of September 4, which allowed, among other things, salary cuts 
up to 20 percent, and on the KPD's motion of no confidence. 

Had the voting taken place immediately, von Papen would have been 
placed in a difficult position, for he had not yet procured the dissolution 
order from the Reich President. However, Frick moved for a thirty- 
minute recess in order to discuss the changed circumstances with Hitler, 
who was across the street in the palace of the Reichstag President. Von 
Papen as well needed these thirty minutes in order to obtain the 
dissolution decree. There was barely enough time to secure Hindenburg's 
signature under the text, which was written by hand on normal paper. 

165 



September 12, 1932 

When the session resumed, Goring — acting on Hitler's 
instructions 236 — immediately initiated the voting, ignoring von Papen's 
request to take the floor. Von Papen had the red folder containing the 
dissolution order in his hand and finally laid it on the table in front of 
Goring. The outcome of the vote showed 512 ballots (NSDAP, Social 
Democrats, Communists, and the Center) against von Papen, 42 
(DNVP, DVP) in his favor, and five abstentions. 

Goring then declared that the dissolution order, which he had read 
in the interim, was invalid because it had been counter-signed by a 
government which had been brought down. This, however, was an 
error, for even if the vote had taken place in the absence of the 
dissolution order, the Reich President was nonetheless in a position to 
issue the order and have it counter-signed by the caretaking government 
still in office. However, there is doubt as to the constitutionality of the 
reasons cited for the dissolution, i.e. the danger that the Reichstag might 
repeal the emergency decree of September 4, 1932. It was the 
constitutional right of the Reichstag to decide on such matters, and it 
was to suffer no interference. 

The Reichstag accepted the decree of dissolution, and Hitler held a 
meeting with the Party's leaders in Berlin on September 13, attended not 
only by the former NSDAP Reichstag deputies, but also by the 
National Socialist Ministers in the Lander Governments. He introduced 
a new slogan for the approaching election campaign, "the social freedom 
fight, which is inseparable from the freedom of the nation." 237 A similar 
speech was held before the SA and SS roll call in Munich (Zirkus Krone) 
on September 15. 238 

In an interview granted to the London Daily Mail,™ Hitler also 
upbraided von Papen for his government's economic program: it could 
succeed only in subjecting the Volk to even more hardship. 

I can assure you that those in power, should they attempt to treat the Volk 
the way it was treated prior to the French Revolution, can be certain of one 
thing: namely that they will provoke a revolution which will be perhaps even 
more violent than the French Revolution was. 

It was not yet clear whether an election to the Reichstag would in 
fact take place. According to the Constitution, it would have to be 
scheduled for no later than the sixtieth day following the dissolution. 

In these tense days in September, it was thoroughly conceivable that 
the Government might commit a flagrant breach of the Constitution. For 
this eventuality, Hitler had threatened resistance, i.e. an open rebellion. A 
map of Germany at the time shows how the Lander governed by the 

166 



September 15, 1932 

National Socialists (Mecklenburg, Brunswick, Anhalt, Thuringia, and 
Oldenburg, with the exclaves in the Hunsriick mountains and near 
Lubeck) constituted isolated areas within a terrority otherwise 
dominated by von Papen. 

Undoubtedly, these parts of the country could easily emerge as 
centers of the rebellion, particularly considering that the local police 
would not only tolerate armed marches of the SA and SS but would also 
actively participate in an uprising. As early as September 20, 240 the 
Volkischer Beobachter published photographs of joint war-like 
maneuvers of the National Socialist police force and the SA and SS 
formations in Mecklenburg. On the other hand, it was questionable 
whether these civil-war troops were capable of conducting successful 
operations against the forces of the Reichswehr and the Prussian police. 
Since the experiences of 1923, Hitler had cautiously avoided actually 
resorting to such conclusive measures; instead, he preferred using them 
as a means of pressure, just as he later directed that ineffectual 
preparations for an invasion of the Channel coast be made in 1940 for 
the sole purpose of exerting pressure on the British Government. In 
1932, this type of tactic was effective. The Government recoiled in the 
face of a possible coup and ordered a new Reichstag election on 
September 20. 241 Once again, as in the July elections, the last possible 
date had been scheduled— Sunday, November 6— in order to curb 
Hitler's propaganda potential by a long election campaign and, if 
possible, use the time allotted to increase popular support for von 
Papen's Government. 

Hitler was not so easily discouraged. At 7:00 a.m. on October 2 he 
addressed the Hitler Youth in Potsdam at a Reichsjugendtag (Reich 
Youth Convention); 242 on October 3, he spoke at a convention of the 
NS Frauenschaft in Munich 243 and on October 6 at a Reich propaganda 
convention of the NSDAP in Munich, 244 where he announced his final 
instructions for the election campaign and stated: 

We will fight for November 6 as though it were a matter of life and death. 
I am looking forward to the fight with absolute confidence. The battle may 
begin. In four weeks we shall come out of it as winners. In the 
Reichsprasidentenpalais, the unanimous realization will be made that the 
National Socialist Movement has arrived, it is here and will never disappear. 

There are only two possibilities: either it will be given power or denied 
power, and in the latter case those now in power will be overcome by the force 
of this Movement. 

On October 11, Hitler launched a new tremendous speechmaking 
campaign comparable in magnitude to his "Flights over Germany" in 

167 



October 11, 1932 

April and June. He opened this campaign with a speech in Giinzburg, 
where he declared: 245 

Herr von Papen was of the conviction that his emergency decree for the 
stimulation of the economy would bring brilliant results by November 6, and 
thus he scheduled the date for the Reichstag election sixty days after its 
dissolution. And I was of the conviction that the nation would see in these sixty 
days that this effort at "stimulating the economy" was the greatest feat of 
bungling and patchwork one can imagine. I was of the conviction that one 
question would be answered before even four weeks had passed, namely the 
question why I refused to enter this Cabinet on August 13. This will be decided 
on November 6. 

It was not, however, the opponents in question who reproached me for 
refusing to join the Cabinet; it was the so-called "friends" in the bourgeois camp. 
At this point, I might ask with the same justification: how was it that you dared 
to invite me to join this Government? 

Did you really believe that I worked for thirteen years to deliver the result 
of this work to the mercy of political lunacy? And it would have been lunacy 
had I staked everything on one horse, long aware that it was unfit for the race. 
Influence was one thing I would not have had in the Cabinet, but the 
responsibility was something they would have graciously surrendered. 

I have no qualms about assuming the responsibility, and I mean the entire 
responsibility, but I do have qualms about assuming it in areas where I have no 
influence. If Fate had chosen those forces which today thirst for power to be 
Germany's leadership, it would be a crime to resist. However, I do not believe 
that Fate could have chosen these men, because otherwise they would have made 
an appearance earlier. It is not possible for someone who was a silent member of 
the Center Party until five months ago 246 to then one day suddenly become the 
"brightly enlightened leader" to the Third Reich. I did not fight Marxism in 
order to erect a different class regime in its place. I have stood before millions of 
German workers in these thirteen years and have struggled for their support. 
But I did not fight to betray them now in the end. 

Above all, my opponents are mistaken about my tremendous resolve. I have 
chosen my path, and I will adhere to it until the end. Whether or not I gain 
power is not as important as the fact that I carry out what I have promised. 
Similarly, the Party is not for sale and cannot be bought from me. Do not make 
the mistake of believing that I would lend out this Movement even for a second 
or allow others to use it for their work. 

By November 5, Hitler had repeated this speech with constantly 
new variations no less than 45 times on his tour of Germany. 

He spoke in Nordlingen on October ll 247 and delivered a speech in 
Pocking (lower Inn valley) on October 12, attacking von Papen's 
Government with the following words: 248 

Either they govern as we wish — then we will bear the responsibility — or 
they do not govern as we wish — then the others bear the responsibility. I do not 

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October 12, 1932 

believe in any regime which is not anchored in the Volk itself. I do not believe 
in an economic regime. One cannot build a house from the top, one must begin 
at the bottom. The foundations of the State are not the Government, but rather 
the Volk. And my answer to the bourgeois parties and politicians who have been 
sleeping since November 1918 while National Socialism has been working is 
this: now your time is up, now it's our turn. 

When Herr von Papen says: "Herr Hitler, you are only here because there 
is a crisis," my answer is, "Yes, and if good fortune were here, I would not be 
needed, and I would not be here, either!" 

On October 13, Hitler spoke in Gunzenhausen, Nuremberg 
(Luitpoldhain), and Weiden. 249 On October 14, he delivered campaign 
speeches in Hof and Selb. 250 In Hof he declared: 

I hold the Reich Chancellor [von Papen] to be neither competent nor 
capable, nor chosen to help the German Volk. 

In the other case [Hindenburg], it should not be said that I am mocking old 
age. However, that is the way it is: just as every old peasant must one day pass 
down his farm, so must every old statesman pass down his Reich. 

On October 15, Hitler spoke in Coburg on the occasion of the ten 
year anniversary of the SA's march on Coburg and was given the 
freedom of the city. 251 

On October 16, while still in Coburg, Hitler composed a lengthy 
open letter to Papen which took up nearly four of the oversized 
newspaper pages in the Volkischer Beobachter. 251 This epistle was a retort 
to a speech von Papen had delivered to the League of Bavarian 
Industrialists (Bayrischer Industriellenverband) which had apparently 
irritated Hitler. He accused the Chancellor of misguided economic 
policy which was fostering a new breed of class hatred. The slated 
constitutional reform was, Hitler railed, tantamount to creating a new 
doctrine of divine right. Furthermore, the Government was guilty of 
practicing outmoded naval policy and, he went on to say, the German- 
French military alliance von Papen was allegedly striving for was unwise 
in respect to England. Hitler closed with the words: 

And another thing, Herr von Papen, you are perfectly free to live in your 
world. I am fighting in mine! It is a blessing to know that my world is the world 
of a community of millions of German mental and manual workers and German 
peasants who, although most of them come from humble origins and a many 
times more humble poverty, wish to be the most faithful sons of our Volk, for 
they fight not only by lip service, but with thousandfold suffering and countless 
sacrifices for a new and better German Reich. 

Adolf Hitler 

169 



October 16, 1932 

On October 16, Hitler campaigned in Schweinfurt (tent on the 
Schiitzenplatz) and in Wtirzburg (Ludwigshalle). 253 In the capital of 
Lower Franconia, he stated: 

I do not believe that the struggle will ever really come to an end. Just as the 
peasant must till his field year after year, so must a statesman till his Volk over 
and over again. I see nothing burdensome, nothing forced in this struggle, but 
something very natural and necessary, and I am looking forward to duelling 
with these gentlemen. 

On October 17, Hitler spoke in Konigsberg (Haus der Technik) and 
stated: 254 

What I am striving for is power, not some title. I do not need remuneration 
from the State. From the start and for all time, I relinquish any claim to salary 
from the State. I want only the power. 

If we do one day achieve power, we will hold onto it, so help us God. We 
will not allow them to take it away from us again. 

On the same day Hitler delivered further speeches in Tilsit and 
Insterburg, 255 and on October 18 in Elbing (Maschinenhalle). 256 

Silesia was scheduled for October 19. Hitler first spoke in Oppeln 
and then in Breslau's Jahrhunderthalle, 257 where he declared: 

If people ask me today. "Well, Herr Hitler, why didn't you board the train 
[to join the Government]?" I reply: I did not board the train because I did not 
intend to get off again afterwards. I did not take a seat in a train which will 
certainly jump the rails. And if people talk about the determining influence I 
was allegedly to be given, the question is, why was I not allowed to board the 
locomotive? When I once enter the Government, I do not intend to leave it. 

On October 20, Hitler proclaimed at a campaign rally in 
Sonnenfeld: 258 

I cannot be offered any title in this Republic which would be better than my 
name. I am and will always remain a child of the Volk. It is for this Volk I have 
fought throughout all these long years, and I will continue fighting for it. And 
it is for this Volk I would let myself be beaten to pieces if necessary. 

Campaign speeches in Halle (tent), Magdeburg (Stadthalle), and 
Stendal (Seehalle) followed on October 22. 259 

On October 23, Hitler delivered speeches in Zwickau (tent), 
Eisenach (Fiirstenhofsaal), and Weimar (Weimarhalle); 260 on October 
24, he spoke in Koslin and Stettin (Messehalle). 261 

The following day he visited Pasewalk, where he had been stationed 
in the reserves' sick bay in 1918. It was here that he had resolved "to 
become a politician," and he stated in his speech there on October 25: 262 

170 



October 25, 1932 

I might have perished like millions of my comrades. I took my life back 
from Providence as a gift and swore to myself to dedicate this life to the Volk. 
And I will adhere to this until my dying breath. 

Further speeches on October 25 were delivered in Anklam and 
Rostock. 263 

This same day, von Papen suffered a critical defeat before the 
Constitutional Court. The President of the Reichsgericht, Dr. Bumke, 264 
pronounced that the measures taken on July 20 in Prussia could only be 
regarded as temporary and were to be restricted mainly to matters of 
police authority. A number of rights were restored to Braun's 
Government (representation in the Reichsrat, etc.). 

On October 26, Hitler spoke in Schwerin and Bad Schwartau (this 
latter rally was held in place of one scheduled for Ltibeck which had 
been prohibited by the Senate of the city). 265 

On October 28, further speeches followed in Bremervorde and 
Altona (Exhibition Hall). 266 A rally slated for the same day in 
Neumunster (Schleswig-Holstein) was cancelled because the tent had 
collapsed. 

On October 29, Hitler took the part of Prince August William of 
Prussia 267 against accusations made by the Stahlhelm, issuing the 
following statement: 268 

The leadership of the Stahlhelm has deemed it necessary to attack and abuse 
our Party comrade Prince August William of Prussia for the fact that he has 
taken his place among the ranks in a movement of millions composed of those 
who have, by their efforts, created the one and only foundation for an uprising 
of the Volk. 

This pitiful attempt has served to make the Prince, whose selfless efforts 
toward bringing about a German Volkserhebung are known to us all, particularly 
dear to the hearts of us German men. The future will provide the best reply to 
this piece of villainy. 

On October 29, Hitler moved on to speak in Oldenburg 
(Ziegelhofsaal) and Aurich; 269 on October 30, he stood before crowds in 
Dortmund and subsequently in Essen (Exhibition Hall), 270 where his 
speech was transmitted by cable to Wesel, Kleve, Mors, and Geldern. 
On the same day, he also spoke in Cologne. 271 

On November 1, campaign speeches in Pirmasens (Festwiese) and 
Karlsruhe (tent) followed. 272 

November 2 found Hitler in Berlin (Sportpalast with four parallel 
events). 273 His presence was designed to stress the alliance which the 
Berlin National Socialists had earlier formed with the Communists. 
Berlin's NSDAP endorsed a strike at the Berlin transportation company 

171 



November 2, 1932 

called by the Communists, thus demonstrating to the capital of the 
Reich the truth of Hitler's claim, i.e. that, were he not given power, the 
disappointed masses would turn to Communism. 

In 1939 Hitler was to employ this same tactic in respect to his 
alliance with the Soviet Union, evoking fear and panic in the Western 
Powers. On November 3, 1932, Hitler spoke at campaign rallies held in 
tents in Hanover and Kassel. 274 

On November 4, Hitler declared at a rally in Ulm (Markthalle): 275 

Go ahead and show the German worker for once, Herr von Papen, how he 
and his family are supposed to live on 70, 80, or 90 marks a month. 

The Reichstag election campaign closed with speeches in Munich 
(Exhibition Grounds), Augsburg (Stadtgarten), and Regensburg 
(Sangerhalle) on November 5. 276 

At the end of this third "Flight over Germany" campaign, Hitler 
presented a signed portrait to the Lufthansa pilot Hans Baur with the 
following dedication: 277 

To the magnificent pilot of D 1720, Captain Baur, in grateful memory of the 
three "Flights over Germany." 

With kindest regards, Adolf Hitler 

Hitler's indefatigable speechmaking bore fruits in this campaign as 
well. 

When the ballots were counted on November 6, the National 
Socialists had lost slightly more than two million votes and 34 seats. 
However, this was not nearly the number von Papen and his supporters 
had expected. 

In spite of the disappointment of many of his voters who had felt 
that the march into the Third Reich was proceeding too slowly, Hitler 
had held his own with 11.7 million votes (33.1 percent). With their 196 
deputies in the Reichstag, the National Socialists continued to comprise 
the strongest party by far. The NSDAP had lost 15 seats to the German 
Nationalists, who had now increased their own mandates from 37 to 52, 
and 11 seats to the Communists, who were now represented in the 
Reichstag for the first time with a force of 100 deputies elected by 
slightly more than 17 percent of the voters. The other losses were 
attributable to non-voters. The SPD and the Center suffered from the 
decrease in voter turnout. 

Parliamentary government without the NSDAP was an impossibility. 
Von Papen's Government still had the backing of only 10 percent of the 

172 



November 6, 1932 

population. The Communists had obviously scored their gains from 
disappointed NSDAP voters who now hoped for a radical change 
through the KPD. Hitler could be satisfied: his Bolshevist nightmare 
was taking on more tangible outlines. 

As a result, compared to his remarks on July 31, Hitler's proclama- 
tions on the outcome of this election were proud and confident: 278 

National Socialists! Party Comrades! 

The most difficult fight in the history of our Party now lies behind us. 

A tremendous attack against the Movement and the rights of the German 
Volk has been driven off! 

Von Papen's Government — despite the most outrageous promises, despite 
the use of all conceivable means of force, despite the deployment of the greatest 
of all propaganda vehicles, the radio, of nearly the entire press, etc. — has suffered 
a crushing defeat. 

The German National People's Party, which was strongly devoted to the 
Government's cause, totals, with its adherents, not even 10 percent of the 
German Volk. Ninety percent reject it! 

It is clear to us what this election outcome means: continuation of the fight 
against this regime to its ultimate removal! 

The coming weeks and months will be our best ally in this fight! They will 
not only increase the insight of our Volk as a result of the growing financial 
distress; they will also strengthen the realization that our National Socialist 
warning that von Papen's regime and the bourgeois parties experiencing a 
revitalization through this Government are driving Germany further and 
further toward Bolshevism is correct. 

Even this election has been proof! Solely this Hugenberg-Papenish reaction 
is to blame for the fact that today for the first time one hundred Bolshevists are 
taking their places in the German Reichstag! 

I hereby establish the motto for the Movement's stand just as clearly as I did 
after the first ballot in the presidential election. It is: 

Ruthless continuation of the fight until we have prevailed over these 
opponents — some open, some disguised — of a true resurrection of our Volk! No 
compromises whatsoever and not a single thought is to be wasted on any kind 
of agreement with these elements! 

I thus give the following orders for the continuation of this fight: 

1. All organizational work on the internal building up of the Party shall be 
of secondary importance behind the single task of strengthening our propaganda 
to the utmost. 

2. All party offices shall immediately institute all measures toward 
introducing the new propaganda campaign. 

3. Before this regime and the parties covering up for it are not defeated unto 
destruction, there will be no negotiating! 

I will issue the detailed implementation provisions for carrying out this 
order within the current week. 

Munich, November 6, 1932 Adolf Hitler 

173 



November 6, 1932 

Men of the SA and SS! 

I may thank all leaders and men of the SA and SS for the tremendous efforts 
in this, the most difficult fight of our Movement to date. I know with how much 
sacrifice and grief, with how many sorrows and privations you have had to fight. 

I know that you yourselves are convinced that you have made a 
superhuman effort. I know that many are now yearning for a rest. 

I can understand that, but I cannot allow it. 

We all believe that we have done our utmost. We must overcome our own 
inclinations and do even more. For the fight must and will be continued until 
our opponents are indeed destroyed in the end. Therefore I direct as follows: 

In closest cooperation with the political propaganda leadership of the party, 
the SA and the SS shall immediately resume work and, with it, the fight. 

Munich, November 6, 1932 Adolf Hitler 

To the Leaders of Party Organization and Propaganda 

I hereby thank the Amtswalters of the Party, the National Socialist 
Frauenschaft, and the Hitler Youth as well as all speakers and editors for the 
tremendous effort which has just been made. 

The fight to prevail over our opponents will be resumed immediately. 
Respective instructions will be issued within the current week. 

Munich, November 6, 1932 Adolf Hitler 



174 



November 13, 1932 



At first glance, the November 6 results appeared to reflect a success 
for von Papen, considering the gains of the German Nationalists and the 
losses of the NSDAP. However, this illusion was soon to be shattered: 
the new Reichstag would doubtless revoke von Papen's emergency 
decrees, just as its predecessor had done. 

Hindenburg admonished the Chancellor that things could not 
proceed in this fashion and that he must secure for himself 
parliamentary support. For better or worse, von Papen was forced to 
once again establish contact with the parties. 

He first wrote to Hitler, although the latter's treatment of the 
Chancellor during the campaign had been anything but gentle. The tone 
of von Papen's letter of November 13 was quite polite: 279 

The Reich Chancellor Berlin, November 13, 1932 

to Herr Adolf Hitler, Munich 

Dear Herr Hitler, 

When the Reich President appointed me to head the government on June 1, 
he assigned the presidential cabinet I was to form the task of achieving as broad 
as possible a concentration of all national forces. 

At that time, you most warmly welcomed the Reich President's decision 
and consented to lend your support to such a presidential cabinet. When we also 
commenced putting this concentration into practice within the presidential 
cabinet after the election of July 31, you took the view that it would only be 
possible to unite these national forces under your leadership. 

You know how much effort I have invested in the many talks toward 
finding a solution in the best interests of the country. But for reasons known to 
you, the Reich President was of the conviction that he was forced to reject your 
claim to the office of Chancellor. 

Since then, the political battle positions taken by the national forces in 
relation to each other have brought about a situation which can only be 
regarded, from a patriotic viewpoint, with the greatest regret. As a result of the 
November 6 election, a new situation has arisen, thus recreating a new 

175 



November 13, 1932 

opportunity to unite all national forces. The Reich President has now assigned 
me the task of ascertaining, in talks with the leaders of the individual parties in 
question, whether and to what extent they are willing to support the 
implementation of the planned political and economic program of the Reich 
Government. Although the National Socialist press has written that it would be 
a naive undertaking were Reich Chancellor von Papen to attempt to negotiate 
with those persons under consideration for the national concentration and that 
he would deserve the following reply: "There will be no negotiations with von 
Papen," I would nonetheless regard it as a breach of my duties and would be 
unable to reconcile it with my conscience were I not to approach you in 
accordance with my request. I have gathered from the press that you uphold 
your claim to the office of Chancellor, and I am also aware of the extent to 
which the reasons against this which led to the decision of August 13 continue 
to exist; in this context I do not need to assure you once again that my person is 
of no consequence here. However, I am of the opinion that the leader of such a 
large national movement whose services to the Volk and the country I have 
always acknowledged, in spite of the criticism these warranted, should not deny 
the presently responsible leading German statesman a discussion on the situation 
and the decisions to be made. We must attempt to forget the bitterness of the 
election campaign and place the interests of the country which we both serve 
above all other reservations. 

Because I have a number of pressing engagements connected with official 
visits of the Reich Government to Saxony and Southern Germany throughout 
the next week, I can be at your disposal on Wednesday or Thursday of the 
coming week. 

With the greatest respect, I remain, dear Herr Hitler, faithfully yours, 

Papen 

In this letter, the Chancellor hinted for the first time that, were a 
compromise to be reached, he himself (i.e. his remaining in office) was 
no longer the conditio sine qua non he had been on August 13. 

Von Papen's position was weakening steadily, and he began to 
realize that not he, but Hitler would be called upon to save Germany. 

Well aware of this, Hitler kept the tone of his November 16 reply 
relatively mild. 280 His main interest lay in recording any future 
negotiations in writing so that he could not be duped into repeating the 
fiasco of August 13. 

The Reich Chancellor von Papen November 16, 1932 

Dear Herr Reichskanzler, 

The request which you addressed to me on November 13 to discuss the 
situation and the decisions to be made prompts me to reply, after careful 
consideration, as follows: 

In spite of all of the reservations, I do endorse your view, Herr Reichs- 
kanzler, that I should not deny the "presently responsible leading German 

176 



November 16, 1932 

statesman" a "discussion on the situation and the decisions to be made." 
However, the nation certainly expects more from such a discussion than a 
purely theoretical treatment of the hardships and troubles which are its present 
concern. Furthermore, I have so often disclosed my views on this subject both 
orally and in writing that you, Herr Reichskanzler, are most certainly 
acquainted with them. The usefulness of a general discussion of this nature 
would therefore appear to me to be extremely limited, and its possibly damaging 
consequences all the more serious. Millions of our Volksgenossen will expect 
positive results from such a conference if it does take place and they are 
informed of it. And they have every right to do so. Mere discussions of the 
situation will help no one. Thus I currently hold that such a talk would only be 
effective if it is clear from the start that the result will not be negative. For this 
reason I feel obligated to inform you, my esteemed Herr Reichskanzler, of four 
items which constitute the prerequisites for such an exchange of ideas. 

Item 1: I am not in a position to appear at an oral interchange, but must 
request that, if such an exchange of ideas is indeed desired, this be effected in 
writing. 

The experiences of oral discussions which have taken place to date before 
witnesses have shown that both parties' powers of recollection did not result in 
the same report of the meaning and the contents of the negotiations. You write 
at the beginning of your letter that you, Herr Reichskanzler, had received the 
assurances of the NSDAP to support the presidential cabinet in order to bring 
about "as broad as possible a concentration of all national forces." The fact is, in 
response to a remark that the Cabinet could be reorganized after the elections, I 
stated in the presence of Captain Goring that I would not even demand this were 
the Government to do justice to its national task. 

I immediately rejected a proposal relayed to me at that time to submit a 
written declaration of toleration, stressing that this, of course, was completely 
out of the question. 

It was impossible, I stated, to demand that I issue a carte blanche for 
gentlemen who were, in part, personally and in any case politically unknown to 
me. The economic and political measures instituted by this Cabinet even within 
the first six weeks served to justify my cautious reserve! 

How easily oral discussions can give rise to mistaken views is also borne out 
in the claim which you yourself, Herr Reichskanzler, have made on various 
occasions, i.e. that I had demanded complete power at that time, when in fact I 
had only made claim to the leadership. 

You yourself were to have been Foreign Minister in the new cabinet. 
General Schleicher, who enjoys the particular confidence of the Reich President, 
was to be Reich Minister of Defense, and aside from the post of Reich Minister 
of the Interior and two or, at the most, three ministries completely without 
political significance, everything was to be occupied either by men already in 
office or by men to be chosen on the basis of talks with the parties in question. 
Now you, Herr Reichskanzler, misinterpreted our more than modest demand 
to such an extent that I, made wiser by these experiences, am no longer willing 
to deviate from the single sure method, i.e. dealing with such questions in 
writing. I am all the more forced to do this because I am, in any case, 

177 



November 16, 1932 

powerless in the face of the so-called official versions. You, Herr Reichskanzler, 
have the possibility of informing the German Volk of your own views on a 
conference not only by means of the radio, which you have monopolized for 
your own purposes, but in addition by forcing them upon the readers of my 
own press by imposing certain conditions. I am completely defenseless against 
such actions. Thus should you, Herr Reichskanzler, be willing to engage upon 
talks in consideration of the other three items, I may request that you transmit 
your views and, if applicable, your questions to me in writing; I will then reply 
in like fashion. 

Item 2: It only makes sense to engage in such an interchange if you, Herr 
Reichskanzler, are willing to enlighten me prior thereto to which extent you 
actually feel and regard yourself solely responsible as the leading German 
statesman. Under no circumstances am I willing to allow myself to be subjected 
again to the method of August 13. In my eyes, it is not permissible for the 
"responsible leading statesman" to divide his responsibility in any given instance 
of responsibility. In this connection I base my view on the passage in your letter 
in which you yourself once more talk of reasons which had led to the decision 
of August 13 and which continue, you state, to exist, whereby you again add 
that your person is of no consequence here! Herr Reichskanzler, I may once and 
for all state the following: I feel myself fundamentally responsible, as the leader 
of the National Socialist Movement, for the political decisions of the Party as 
long as I am its leader; conversely, you, too, are fundamentally responsible for 
the political decisions of the Reich leadership as long as you are Reich 
Chancellor. It was out of this conviction that I requested on August 13, in view 
of the failure of our talk, that you assume the responsibility yourself and not 
burden it upon the Reich President. 

I explained to you that, as a consequence of your assurance that it was 
impossible to comply with our demands due to reasons allegedly attributable to 
the Reich President, I naturally was forced to refuse to even call on him. 

I told you that, as long as a Reich Chancellor bears the political 
responsibility, this same person is also obligated to cover for his sovereign, 
whether this be a king or a president. In reply to your question as to my own 
concept, I suggested to you that an official communique be issued to the effect 
that a meeting had taken place regarding a reorganization of the Reich 
Government attended by you, Herr Reichskanzler, and myself as the leader of 
the National Socialist Movement, and that same had been inconclusive and 
therefore been discontinued. In view of the fact that I had previously taken part 
in an election to Reich President as a competitor, it did not seem right to me, 
particularly in consideration of the mass of millions of my own followers, to 
allow the Reich President himself to make an appearance in the event that I was 
to be rejected as a person — which was to be expected at the time. 

You were the responsible leading politician in the Reich, and particularly in 
this case, in my opinion this was all the more reason for you to have assumed 
the responsibility. Unless your conscience would not have allowed this — but 
then you would have been obliged to resign. Unfortunately, you could not be 
moved to take on that share of the responsibility accruing to you. I bore my 
own share. 

178 



November 16, 1932 

Instead, your chancellory resorted to a ruse and thereby succeeded — 
contrary to my own wishes and the assurance you had given me — in luring me 
to nonetheless attend a talk with the Reich President. 

Perhaps the fact that you knew the results in advance sufficed, in your view, 
to relieve you of any responsibility; at any rate, the matter did not bring about 
my downfall, but the 85-year-old Reich President was drawn into public 
controversy as a consequence and burdened with a heavy responsibility! I would 
not like to witness a repeat performance. Thus I am only willing to engage in 
such a written exchange of ideas on the German situation and the alleviation of 
our distress if you, Herr Reichskanzler, are first willing to establish your sole 
responsibility for the future. 

Item 3: I request, Herr Reichskanzler, that you inform me which purpose 
the integration of the National Socialist Movement is actually to serve. If you 
wish to win me and hence the National Socialist Movement over to — as you 
write in your letter — support the political and economical program planned by 
the Reich leadership, then any written interchange on this point is irrelevant, if 
not to say futile. 

I cannot and do not wish to pass any judgment on what the Government 
regards as the program of its choice, because even after the most painstaking 
reflection, this program has never become quite clear to me. 

However, if it is a matter of continuing the measures taken to date in 
domestic, foreign, and economic policy, then I must decline any and all support 
on the part of the National Socialist Party, for I hold these measures to be, in 
varying degrees, insufficient, badly thought-out, completely useless — and even 
dangerous. I know that you are of a different opinion, Herr Reichskanzler, but 
I regard the practical efforts of your Government even at this point as having, 
to say the least, been proven ineffective. 

Item 4: Herr Reichskanzler, in your letter you state that November 6 
created a "new opportunity to unite all national forces." I must confess to you 
that the meaning of your suggestion fully escapes me. I am of the conviction that 
this opportunity has naturally worsened as a result of the dissolution of the 
Reichstag on September 12, for the consequence, on the one hand, is an 
outrageous proliferation of Communism, while on the other it means a 
revitalization of the smallest of splinter parties totally devoid of any practical 
political impact. 

Thus the formation of any type of supporting platform anchored in the 
German Volk is only conceivable in respect to the parties if one includes the 
German Nationalists and the German People's Party. The plan of including the 
SPD, which you are apparently contemplating, is one I reject from the start. 
However, as you are well aware, Herr Reichskanzler, before the election the 
leader of the German Nationalist People's Party branded, in the most 
unequivocal of terms, any cooperation with the Center as treason against the 
nation and a crime against the nation. I do not believe that Herr Privy 
Councillor Hugenberg could suddenly become so unprincipled as to do 
something after the election which he had condemned so vehemently before it. 
Thus your attempt, Herr Reichskanzler, appears unclear and hence just as much 
a waste of time as it is futile, until you are in a position to inform me that Herr 
Hugenberg has now come to think differently. 

179 



November 16, 1932 

I must regard these four items, Herr Reichskanzler, as my requirement for 
an exchange of views, i.e. a written interchange. It is up to you to consent or 
refuse. 

In conclusion, I may assure you, Herr Reichskanzler, that I am not filled 
with any subsequent bitterness as a result of the campaign. In the thirteen years 
of my struggle for Germany, I have had to bear so much persecution and so 
many personal attacks that I have in fact slowly learned to place the great cause 
which I serve above my own pitiful self. The only thing which fills me with 
bitterness is having to stand back and watch how, under your less than lucky 
touch in guiding the State, Herr Reichskanzler, day by day a national asset is 
wasted away, an asset in whose creation I own an honest share, as German 
history is my witness. This waste of national hopes, national faith, and national 
trust in a German future is what fills me with pain and grief; although it also 
steels my own resolve to unshakably insist upon the demands which, in my 
view, are the only ones which can overcome our crisis. 

With the greatest respect, I remain, dear Herr Reichskanzler, faithfully 
yours, 

Adolf Hitler 

In this letter, Hitler landed a few blows to von Papen in return for 
his behavior on August 13 and in respect to his government program, 
which, "even after the most painstaking reflection, never became quite 
clear." As a whole, however, the letter was moderate in tone and closed 
with the remark that Hitler harbored no "subsequent bitterness" toward 
von Papen. 

In any case, it was Hitler's opinion that von Papen needed to be 
removed from office in order to rule out the possibility that he might 
once again behave arrogantly toward Hitler. This intention was made 
clear in a short postscript which he added to his letter to von Papen: 

Since I have been informed that General von Schleicher was made 
acquainted with the contents of your letter, Herr Reichskanzler, I have taken 
the liberty of forwarding a copy of this letter to him as well. 

Von Papen was forced to announce the resignation of the Cabinet 
on November 17. Hitler, the Center, and the Social Democrats had all 
refused to grant him parliamentary toleration. Schleicher had even 
commenced opposition within the Cabinet itself. 281 

On November 19, Hitler was received by Hindenburg. This time he 
succeeded in being able to speak to the Reich President in private. All of 
the disrupting factors which had plagued him since his first visit in 
October 1931 had now been swept away. Hitler was finally able to 
speak in a language which impressed the weathered patriot and military 
man in Hindenburg. 

180 



November 19, 1932 

If the President initially believed that Hitler might, at most, be 
considered for the post of Vice Chancellor, after the conference he was 
amenable to the idea of Hitler as Chancellor of a parliamentary 
government. 

When Hitler had taken his leave, Hindenburg remarked to State 
Secretary Meissner: "It seems as if the man is gradually coming to 
reason." 282 The following official communique was issued in respect to 
the meeting: 

In the conference which took place on Sunday, November 19, between the 
Reich President and Herr Adolf Hitler, Herr Hitler stated that he would only 
place his Movement at the disposal of a cabinet of which he himself was head. 
Furthermore, he expressed hopes that talks with the parties would allow him to 
find a basis upon which he and a government he would form could procure an 
Enabling Act from the Reichstag. Therefore the Reich President felt obligated 
to attempt to form a majority government under Hitler's leadership. 

On November 21, Hitler was received once again by Hindenburg. 
True to his pledge to record all negotiations in writing, he handed over 
the following document to the Reich President: 

Esteemed Herr Reichsprasident, 

From notices in the press and a confirmation given to me by State Secretary 
Meissner, I have learned of Your Excellency's intention to officially request me 
to enter into negotiations with the other parties without a new presidential 
cabinet first being formed. I hold this request to be so important that, in the 
interest of the authority of the name and the wishes of Your Excellency as well 
as in the interest of the so imperative salvation of the German Volk, I am 
substantiating my views on this matter in writing. 

For the past thirteen years, I have been combatting the parliamentary 
system. In it I perceive an inoperable method of forming a political will and 
expressing the political will of the nation. Prompted by unrelenting propaganda 
on my part and the part of my staff, this conviction has since become common 
property to many millions of German people. They thus welcome the fact that 
Your Excellency has made the decision to do justice to this new realization and 
carry out a restructuring of the leadership of the State. In order to prevent this 
new leadership from ending in a catastrophe, it must have a constitutionally 
admissible starting point and grow to become a real representative of the will of 
the nation within a reasonably short time. Hence an inner, living relationship 
must be established between it and that part of the German Volk which already 
constitutes a sound basis. It is your task to further increase this percentage in an 
organic sense to gradually come to encompass the entire nation. If this is not 
done, the result will be a dictatorship supported solely by bayonets and thus 
exclusively dependent upon them. If inner causes do not bring about 
the collapse, it will arise at the first instance of pressure from abroad. 
The consequence can be none other than Bolshevism. Therefore, foreseeing 

181 



November 21, 1932 

the fall of von Papen's Government from the experiences of the first six weeks, 
on August 13 I represented the opinion that this task could only be 
accomplished successfully by assigning this mission to the National Socialist 
Movement. For reasons which should not be mentioned here, Your Excellency, 
Herr Reichsprasident, believed that you had no choice but to reject my proposal 
at that time. 

Now, after six months in power, von Papen's Cabinet — as I prophesied — has 
fallen into an irretrievable isolation at home and Germany has fallen prey to the 
same isolation abroad. The results of the attempt to save our economy and 
eliminate unemployment have, in varying measure, been unsatisfactory and 
imperceptible. The social misery is horrendous. General trust has sunken to 
zero. The Bolshevization of the broad masses is making rapid progress. 

If a new government were to take on this terrible political, economic, and 
financial inheritance today, its activities could only be accompanied by success 
if it unites a great authority from above with a correspondingly great power 
from below. 

Having been summoned to Berlin once more by Your Excellency as the 
leader of the National Socialist Movement to aid in alleviating this, the most 
severe crisis of our Volk, I must state that this can only be done, according to 
the best of my knowledge and belief and in my opinion, if the Movement and I 
are accorded the position necessary to fulfill this task and to which the 
Movement is entitled in view of its strength and numbers. For the harsh 
necessity of placing Germany above the parties will only then be recognized 
when, as a factor in negotiations, the strongest movement is given, from the very 
onset, that authority which Your Excellency has granted to all holders of 
presidential power to date. With due respect to justice and fairness, this claim is 
no less valid. The National Socialist Movement would bring to any government 
a total of 196 mandates — two thirds of the number of deputies required for a 
legal assumption of power. 

I can pledge my firm decision to Your Excellency that, were I to propose 
and head a presidential cabinet given the approval of Your Excellency, it would 
be equipped with all of the constitutional prerequisites for the lasting and 
productive work required to lend new heart to our politically and economically 
ruined Volk. 

Thus I may address only one single request to Your Excellency: that I be 
given at least that power and authority given to the men before me who were 
not able to contribute as much as I can to the great value of the power and the 
significance of the name of Your Excellency. For if I am forced by the 
Constitution to enlist other parties in order to legalize the activities of the 
coming Government, I do, Herr Reichsprasident, at least bring with me the 
largest party of all. My own name and the existence of this, the greatest German 
movement, are security, but they must be destroyed if our deployment leads to 
an unfavorable outcome. However, in such a case, Herr Reichsprasident, it is 
not a military dictatorship that will follow us, but Bolshevist chaos. 

If, on the other hand, there be plans to return to the pure parliamentary 
forms of past government, then in my opinion these plans should be disclosed 
openly to Your Excellency. In such a case, I may most humbly request that I be 

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November 21, 1932 

allowed to take the liberty of pointing out the consequences of such a decision. 
I would most deeply regret this. 

In summary, I may request Your Excellency to grant consideration to these, 
my reasons, and to dispense with any such attempt to solve the crisis. 

In this letter, Hitler listed his three alternative solutions to the 
current government crisis: a presidential cabinet, a majority 
government, or a military dictatorship. The latter he perceived as a 
distinct possibility under Schleicher and thus concentrated his warnings 
on this eventuality. Naturally, his preferred solution was his own 
nomination as presidential chancellor; however, he wished to convey 
that he would also be willing, albeit somewhat grudgingly, to attempt a 
majority government. 

Hindenburg had also laid down his own aims in writing, and when 
the two parted, the President declared amicably that his door was always 
open to Hitler. An official account of this visit was published as well. 

At his second meeting on the morning of Monday, November 21 , the Reich 
President issued a declaration to Herr Adolf Hitler which was worded as follows: 

'You know that I support the idea of a presidential cabinet. I conceive of a 
presidential cabinet as one which is to be led not by a party leader, but by a non- 
partisan man, and that this man be a person who enjoys my particular 
confidence. You have declared that you would only place your Movement at the 
disposal of a cabinet which you, as leader of the Party, would head. If I follow 
your thoughts in this respect, then I must insist that such a cabinet also has a 
majority in the Reichstag. For this reason, I bid you as leader of the largest party 
to determine whether and under what conditions you would have a secure and 
workable majority with a definite common practical program, were you to take 
over government leadership. 

'I may request your answer by Thursday evening.' 

In compliance with Hitler's wish, the Reich President laid down the 
following requirements for the formation of a government and a majority, 
which he proffered to Hitler in writing: 

'I. Objectively speaking: the establishment of an economic program; no 
return of the dualism Reich-Prussia; no limitation of Article 48. 

'2. Personally speaking, I reserve my final consent to the list of ministers. As 
international representative of the Reich and Supreme Commander of the 
Armed Forces, it is my personal responsibility to determine who shall fill the 
posts of the Foreign Office and the Reich Ministry of Defense.' 

Hitler accepted these two documents with the remark that he would relay 
his answer to the Reich President in writing. 

Hitler had made decisive progress on November 19 and 21. He had 
his foot in the door of the Reich President's palace. It was now up to 
him to continue exerting unrelenting pressure until the entire structure 
collapsed. 

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November 21, 1932 

Apparently, Hitler had little real motivation to become Chancellor 
in 1932. The winter was approaching; unemployment would certainly 
rise; weather conditions ruled out the institution of short-term 
employment programs. Furthermore, if he took power now, Schleicher 
would still be lurking in the wings and, with him, the danger of a 
military dictatorship. It appeared more feasible to first force Schleicher 
out onto the political stage and to then seize power in spring 1933, after 
Schleicher had made his exit. The fact that the President had granted 
Hitler two audiences and assigned him the task of forming a government 
greatly enhanced Hitler's public prestige. Coasting on this success, he 
believed he could afford to stall. Schacht stated in an interview at that 
time: 283 "There is only one person who can become Reich Chancellor 
today, and that is Adolf Hitler. If Hitler does not become Chancellor 
now, he will in four months. Hitler can wait." Hitler's main and only 
concern lay in making the other side responsible for the failure of 
negotiations which he had, in fact, himself intended. He soon devised a 
way of doing so: at that time, the Weimar Constitution was already 
undermined to such an extent that the responsible statesmen no longer 
even realized when they were violating constitutional rules. 

Hindenburg's conditions— i.e. no reinstatement of the dualism 
between the Reich and Prussia and his reservation to make the 
appointments to the Foreign Office and the Reich Ministry of Defense 
by virtue of his position as international representative of the Reich and 
Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces — were unquestionably at 
variance with the Weimar Constitution. Grotesquely enough, Hitler 
was the most strident advocate of the Constitution in 1932, exhibiting 
real expertise in adhering to its precepts. 

Thus he composed a letter to State Secretary Meissner on November 
21 requesting that he be told which form of government the Reich 
President in fact preferred. 

Berlin, November 21, 1932 

Dear Mr. Secretary, 

Filled with the great responsibility of this difficult time, I have undertaken 
to carefully check the request which I received today from the Reich President. 
After thorough discussion with leading men in my Movement and in other 
sectors of public life, I have first of all come to the following conclusion: 

A comparison of the two documents, i.e. on the one hand the request 
transmitted to me and, on the other, the required conditions, reveals a contra- 
diction in a number of items which, to me, appears irreconcilable. Before I take 
a stand on this, a stand upon which my final decision would depend, I may ask 
you, Mr. Secretary, to ascertain the opinion of the Reich President and inform 

184 



November 21, 1932 

me which form of government the Reich President desires and has in mind in 
this case. Does he envisage a presidential cabinet with a secure parliamentary 
toleration as required by the Constitution, or does His Excellency desire to see 
a parliamentary cabinet with the reservations and limitations relayed to me, 
which, by virtue of their very character, can only be maintained — and thus 
guaranteed — by an authoritarian leadership in the State? 

Mr. Secretary, if you critically compare the two documents, taking into 
consideration the requirements of constitutional law as well as the 
constitutionally anchored position and thus responsibility of a parliamentary 
government, you yourself will perceive the significance of clarifying this basic 
point. I would like to add that Reich Chancellor Briming was and has remained 
one of the party political leaders of the Center and nonetheless became 
presidential chancellor in his secord Cabinet. I have regarded myself not as a 
"party leader," but simply as a German, and it was with the sole aim of 
delivering Germany from the pressure of Marxism that I founded and organized 
a Movement which is alive and effective far beyond the borders of the German 
Reich. The fact that we entered the parliaments is due only to the Constitution, 
which forced us to tread the path of legality. I myself have consciously kept my 
distance from any type of parliamentary activity. 

The difference between my own view and that of von Papen's Cabinet in 
respect to the possibility of an authoritarian leadership in the State lies solely in 
my requirement that same be anchored in the Volk. To bring this about with 
legal means is my most fervent wish and my foremost aim. With the utmost 
respect, I remain yours very truly, 

Adolf Hitler 

State Secretary Meissner answered the questions posed by the leader 
of the NSDAP in the following letter: 

November 22, 1932 

Dear Herr Hitler, 

I am most honored to reply to your letter of yesterday at the request of the 
Reich President. 

The Reich President sees the respective distinguishing characteristics of a 
presidential cabinet and a parliamentary government as follows: 

1. A presidential cabinet — born in times of distress and failure of the 
Parliament — will, as a general rule, pass the requisite government measures 
without the prior consent of the Parliament on the basis of Article 48 of the 
Constitution. Thus its absolute powers are drawn first and foremost from the 
Reich President, and in principle, it only requires Parliament to sanction or 
tolerate these measures. A parliamentary government must submit all proposed 
bills to the legislative bodies for deliberation and approval prior to their passage; 
thus its absolute powers are drawn exclusively from a given parliamentary 
majority. — As a result, the head of a presidential cabinet can only be a person 
who enjoys the particular confidence of the Reich President. 

2. A presidential cabinet must be conducted and constituted in a non- 
partisan sense and adhere to a non-partisan program approved by the Reich 

185 



November 22, 1932 

President. As a general rule, a parliamentary government is formed by the leader 
of one of the parties in a position to form a majority or a coalition; it is 
comprised of members of these parties; and it essentially pursues goals upon 
which the Reich President has only limited and indirect influence. — 
Accordingly, the head of a party, and at the same time, the head of a party who 
claims exclusiveness for his own movement, cannot be the head of a presidential 
cabinet. 

3. When he was first appointed, Reich Chancellor Briining formed a 
pronouncedly parliamentary cabinet with the parties' support which only then 
was gradually converted to a type of presidential cabinet when the Reichstag was 
no longer capable of functioning as a legislative body and Herr Briining had won 
the full confidence of the Reich President. The various changes in his Cabinet 
during his term in office were brought about first and foremost in compliance 
with the wishes of the Reich President to project an outward manifestation of 
this transformation of his Cabinet to a presidential cabinet in the persons of the 
ministers, and to avoid the impression of a rule by the Center by making 
respective personnel changes. Naturally a parliamentary government under 
your leadership could also develop into a presidential cabinet in a similar fashion 
in the course of time. 

4. Von Papen's Cabinet was a true presidential cabinet which only resigned 
because it was unable to procure a majority in Parliament to approve of and/ or 
tolerate its measures. Hence a new presidential cabinet would only then 
constitute an improvement were it able to eliminate this flaw and 
simultaneously possessed the qualities of von Papen's Cabinet (non-partisan 
leadership and constitution without a party program, enjoying the particular 
confidence of the Reich President). 

5. In view of these deliberations, dear Herr Hitler, the request addressed to 
you by the Reich President can only be that of forming a parliamentary 
majority cabinet. The Reich President arrived at this decision after his talks 
with the party leaders had shown that it would be possible to form a majority 
in the Reichstag for a cabinet under your leadership and you yourself were 
confident in your conference on November 19 that you could create a majority 
for a government you formed and procure an Enabling Act from the Reichstag 
for your government. The "prerequisites" for the formation of such a 
government which the Reich President cited in response to your question are 
not in conflict with a parliamentary solution. In keeping with the 
governmental practice which he and his predecessors in office have consistently 
upheld, the Reich President has imposed certain basic demands upon each 
cabinet to date; in other respects, the conferences which the Reich President has 
held with the various party leaders have served to show that there is no 
fundamental opposition to these demands. Nonetheless, in the event that one 
of the prerequisites for forming a government of which the Reich President has 
informed you should prove to constitute a decisive obstacle to procuring a 
stable majority, this should be the subject matter of the requested report on the 
outcome of your deliberations. 

With the utmost respect, I remain yours very truly, 

Dr. Meissner 

186 



November 22, 1932 

Upon receiving this letter, Hitler was free to draft his regrets, citing 
the most meticulous constitutional deliberations he could find. 
Objectively speaking, his observations were indeed closer to the truth 
than not, for there actually was only one possible way of establishing an 
authoritarian government according to the Constitution: by means of 
an Enabling Act passed by the Reichstag. 

Hitler's letter to State Secretary Meissner of November 23 read as 
follows: 

Dear Mr. Secretary, 

I may take the liberty of replying to your letter of yesterday as summarized 
in the following three points: 

A. I object to your definition of the meaning and character of a presidential 
cabinet as follows: 

The claim that a presidential cabinet can be more non-partisan than a 
parliamentary cabinet is disproven first of all by the type of evolution such a 
cabinet undergoes and secondly by the limitations of its capacity to function as 
well as by the respective method applied. If a presidential cabinet is forced to 
govern by virtue of Article 48, then this cabinet requires — as you yourself have 
admitted— if not the prior consent, then all the more the subsequent approval of 
a parliamentary majority. This parliamentary majority will always be expressed 
in terms of parties, given our constitutional life as a whole. Thus it is equally 
dependent upon a majority in the parties themselves as a parliamentary cabinet. 
Hence a statesman heading such a cabinet must either enjoy or gain the 
confidence of the majority of the Reichstag just as much as he requires, as a 
matter of course, the confidence of the Reich President. Incidentally, a recent 
judgment of the Constitutional Court confined the application of Article 48 to 
quite specific cases 284 and limited periods, which means that the fulfillment of 
government obligations in general can no longer be based solely upon this 
Article. Thus in future, it will be the task of a chancellor who — under the 
pressure of the crisis and the decisions to be made in respect to it — regards the 
cumbersomeness of parliamentary procedure as a dangerous check to secure for 
himself a majority for an Enabling Act limited in terms of use and restricted in 
terms of time. The potential success of such an attempt will be all the greater, on 
the one hand, the more authoritarian the position of this man is; conversely, it 
will be all the more difficult, depending upon how much weight the 
parliamentary power he already has at his disposal carries. 

It is of no consequence whether a government program appears to be 
partisan or non-partisan. Rather, the essential thing is that the program is right 
and that it leads to success. I protest against the position that a program which 
is right in and of itself cannot be implemented because it constitutes the property 
and body of thought of a certain party and therefore must be rejected by a 
presidential government which, of necessity, must maintain its non-partisan 
role. However, since it is a general rule that programs will always attract people 
who then unavoidably manifest themselves in groups as parties, it follows that 
in the future only those programs could be implemented which — 

187 



November 23, 1932 

in order to maintain the non-partisan role — are not backed by any adherents. 
How a parliamentary majority can be brought about to tolerate such a program 
is a puzzle to me, and it was also in attempting to solve this same puzzle that 
Herr von Papen failed. 

On the other hand, I have stated that I reject this type of leadership because 
it inevitably leads nowhere and, at the most, can resort only to the bayonet as 
its final defense. I have, in addition, upheld the conviction that, given the 
prerequisite of the Reich President's confidence, I, if anyone, would be most 
capable of avoiding such a catastrophe, for after all, my Party already has two 
thirds of the number of deputies required for toleration at its disposal. The step 
from 200 to 300 deputies will be easier than the one from 50 or 60 to 200. 

B. You inform me, Mr. Secretary, that the Reich President now desires a 
one-hundred-percent parliamentary solution. This means that I am first to agree 
upon a program with the parties, proceed to find a majority, and then initiate 
the formation of a government in a purely parliamentary sense on the basis of 
this majority. First of all, I must note at this time that I should have been 
assigned this task prior to September 12, 1932. It certainly would have been 
easier to accomplish at that time! 285 

However, it cannot be accomplished at all if the assignment of this task is 
linked to conditions which hinder its accomplishment. For if the course to be 
taken is a strictly parliamentary route, then no requirements can be imposed 
other than those given in the Weimar Constitution itself. 

Accordingly, the first priority is a parliamentary majority (Article 54), both 
in terms of assigning the task of forming the government and of putting together 
a cabinet for the government's program. Other requirements can only then be 
imposed to the extent that same are compatible with the Constitution. 

Due to the fact that the Reich President appoints the Reich Chancellor and 
the Reich Ministers, he naturally has the last word in respect to the list of 
ministers. However, the requirement that appointments to the Foreign Office 
and the Reich Ministry of Defense are at the sole personal discretion of the Reich 
President is not compatible with Article 53 of the Constitution. The Foreign 
Minister and the Reich Minister of Defense can only be appointed on the 
recommendation of the Reich Chancellor. This is the only way it is possible to 
lay down the guidelines for policy at home and abroad for which, after all, he 
bears the responsibility to the Reichstag pursuant to Article 56. This is not 
altered by the fact that the Reich President is the international representative of 
the Reich; that he enters into alliances and other conventions with foreign 
powers on behalf of the Reich; that he accredits and receives envoys (Article 45); 
and that he exercises supreme command over the whole of the Reich's Armed 
Forces (Article 47). The Constitution (Article 50) requires that all orders and 
decrees of the Reich President — in respect to the Armed Forces as well — must be 
counter-signed by the Reich Chancellor or the competent Reich Minister in 
order to be valid. 

Establishing an economic program, ruling out the reinstatement of the 
dualism between the Reich and Prussia, no limitations on Article 48 — these are 
all conditions which the Reich President is only entitled to impose, given a 
cabinet based upon a parliamentary majority, in accordance with the provisions 

188 



November 23, 1932 

of Article 68 et seq., i.e. by way of legislation. If you are now stating, Mr. 
Secretary, that every cabinet has been subjected to certain basic demands in 
keeping with the governmental practice which the Reich President and his 
predecessors in office have upheld to date, I may reply as follows: 

1. Never before in this sense and to this extent; 

2. Never before was Germany's catastrophic situation comparable to the 
present in domestic, foreign or economic terms, and thus the full authority of a 
Reich Chancellor was never needed as badly before as it is now; and 

3. I may nonetheless point out that at no time have such grave incursions 
been made into the parliamentary system of government as under Herr von 
Papen's presidential cabinet, and I am now asked to submit these subsequently 
to the parties for parliamentary finding, i.e. toleration and approval. To parties 
which have fought these same measures to the utmost out of an instinct of self- 
preservation! And all that at a time in which the position of these parties is made 
even stronger by the fact that it is said, first of all, that I do not possess the 
particular confidence of the Reich President and secondly, that I am to proceed 
on the strictly parliamentary coalition course! 

C. You write, dear Mr. Secretary, that the preliminary discussions with the 
other party leaders have already served to indicate their willingness to agree to 
these reservations. In any case, Mr. Secretary, these statements have not been 
laid down in writing. The talks which Reichstag President Goring has held with 
the other parties (before the Reich President had assigned this task to me) have 
revealed the opposite. Commentary in the official party correspondence of one 
of the parties required to form a majority coalition (the Bavarian People's Party) 
is also indicative of this view. The promise that I would inform the Reich 
President of the reasons, should my negotiations fail, does nothing to change the 
fact that one would simply— and rightly— conclude that I was unable to 
accomplish a task I had taken on. 

The resultant consequences for the National Socialist Movement and thus for 
the German Volk as a whole only stand to reason. I have made a most sincere 
effort to weigh the task and the conditions over and over again, but I have 
nonetheless come to the conclusion, just as my entire staff has done, that this task 
cannot be accomplished given its inherent contradictions. Thus I have refrained 
from establishing contact with any of the parties, and I may therefore request that 
you, Mr. Secretary, might be so kind and convey the following highly deferential 
message to His Excellency, the esteemed Herr Reich President: 

I cannot accept the task assigned to me on Monday, the 21 st instant, by the 
Reich President due to its inherent impracticability, and thus I may return same 
to the hands of the Reich President. 

In view of the hopeless situation of our Vaterland and in view of the ever- 
increasing misery and the obligation of each and every German to do his utmost 
to prevent the Volk and the Reich from becoming mired in chaos, I would 
nevertheless like to place the National Socialist Movement with the faith, the 
power and the hope of German youth at the disposal of the venerable Reich 
President and Field Marshal of the Great War. Thus, completely dispensing with 
all of the terms which lead only to confusion, I may propose the following 
positive action: 

189 



November 23, 1932 

1. The Reich President shall instruct me to submit, within forty-eight hours 
of receiving his request, a short program containing the measures to be taken in 
terms of domestic, foreign, and economic policy. 

2 Subsequent to receiving approval for this program, I shall submit a list of 
ministers to the Reich President within a further twenty-four hours. 

3. In addition to retaining other ministers from the present Government, I 
will propose to the Reich President that General von Schleicher, whom I know 
to enjoy the Reich President's personal trust, be appointed to the Reich Ministry 
of Defense and Freiherr von Neurath be considered for the Reich Foreign 
Ministry. 

4. The Reich President shall then appoint me as Reich Chancellor and 
confirm the ministers in office which I have proposed and he has approved. 

5. The Reich President shall assign to me the task of fulfilling the 
constitutional requirements for the work of this cabinet and shall, for this 
purpose, grant me those powers which have never before been denied even 
parliamentary chancellors in such critical and difficult times. 286 

6. 1 pledge that, fully devoting my person and my Movement to the cause, I 
will sacrifice myself for the salvation of our Vaterland. 

Thanking you, dear Mr. Secretary, for transmitting this message, I remain 
with the utmost respect, faithfully yours, 

Adolf Hitler 

On November 23, Hitler conferred once more with General 
Schleicher with the knowledge of the Reich President. 

Hitler and Schleicher, both aspiring candidates to the chancellorship, 
each preferred to allow the other priority, hoping that he would soon 
prove himself incapable, thus enabling the remaining candidate to 
present himself as the only possible solution. Schleicher described 
himself as "the last man the Reich President has." 287 Although a brilliant 
tactician himself, Schleicher had met more than his match in Hitler. 

Because of his refusal to form a parliamentary cabinet, Hitler was in 
a position to force Schleicher to become Chancellor. Hence he was 
careful to refrain from making any concessions at this conference and 
adhered to his prior standpoint. 

Indeed, he had nothing to lose. What could Hindenburg do? He 
would hardly consider reappointing von Papen, and even if he did, one 
knew what to expect. 288 Perhaps Hitler's mention of General von 
Schleicher in his letter of November 23 as someone who "enjoyed the 
Reich President's personal trust" had been meant as a hint to the Old 
Gentleman to appoint this man to the job. 

It did not take long for Hindenburg — or rather Meissner — to reply 
to Hitler's letter. The State Secretary wrote to Hitler on November 24 
as follows: 

190 



November 24, 1932 



Dear Herr Hitler, 



I am honored to reply to your letter of yesterday at the instructions of the 
Reich President as follows: 

1. The Reich President understands from your reply that you see no chance 
of success for the formation of a parliamentary majority government and thus 
are returning to him the task he had assigned to you. In respect to the grounds 
you cited for your refusal, the Reich President would have me note that, in view 
of the remarks of the leaders of the Center and the Bavarian People's Party and 
also in view of your own remarks in the discussion of November 19, he was led 
to assume the opposite, i.e. that it was in fact possible to form a majority in the 
Reichstag. Moreover, the Reich President is even less able to recognize an 
"inherent contradiction" in his request in view of the fact that my explanatory 
letter of November 22 explicitly pointed out the possibility of a further 
consultation should one of the prerequisites mentioned by the Reich President 
prove to be a decisive obstacle to your negotiations. 

2. The Reich President thanks you, Herr Hitler, for your willingness to 
assume the leadership of a "presidential cabinet." However, he does not believe 
that he could justify it to the German people if he granted presidential powers 
to the leader of a party which has repeatedly stressed its exclusive character and 
which has taken a predominantly negative stance in respect to himself as a 
person as well as in respect to the political and economic measures he deems 
requisite. Under these circumstances, the Reich President must fear that a 
presidential cabinet headed by you is bound to develop into a party dictatorship 
with all its respective consequences, leading to an extreme aggravation of the 
antagonisms within the German people; and the fact of having brought this 
about would be something for which he could neither take the responsibility 
before his oath nor before his own conscience. 

3. Now that, to the deep regret of the Reich President, you have 
categorically refused both in the conferences with him to date and in the 
discussion you had yesterday with the Reich Minister of Defense, General von 
Schleicher, held with the Reich President's knowledge, to take any part within 
or outside of a new government, regardless under whose leadership this 
government may be, the Reich President no longer expects any positive results 
from further written or oral discussions on this question. Irrespective of this, the 
Reich President would like to repeat the statement made to you in the last 
discussion on Monday that his door is always open to you and he will always be 
willing to hear your views on the questions of the day; for he does not wish to 
relinquish the hope that, with time, it will be possible to win you and your 
Movement to cooperate with all of the other constructive forces in the nation. 
With the greatest respect, I remain dear Herr Hitler, faithfully yours, 

Dr. Meissner 

Hitler had expected an answer along these lines. Apparently, 
Hindenburg was not overly disappointed in Hitler's maneuver. He would 
not have welcomed a parliamentary majority government, and perhaps 
the fact that Hitler was so adamant in insisting on a presidential cabinet 

191 



November 24, 1932 

increased the Old Gentleman's respect for him: it was a concept which, 
after all, had been Hindenburg's idea in the first place. In any case, the 
fact remained that he had assured Hitler his door would always be open 
to him. 

The duplicating machines in Hitler's office were already operating at 
maximum capacity to copy the entire correspondence and rush it to the 
press before the Wilhelmstrasse could do so. 289 First Hitler quickly 
dictated a closing letter to Meissner, for he naturally wanted the last 
word in this political farce. 

Dear Mr. Secretary, 

There are a few final observations I must make upon receiving your letter 
containing the Reich President's rejection of my proposal for solving the crisis. 

1. I did not say that I felt there was no chance of success for the attempt to 
form a parliamentary majority government; rather, I described it as an 
impossibility as a result of the conditions attached to it. 

2. I pointed out that, if conditions were in fact imposed, these necessarily 
had to be compatible with the Constitution. 

3. 1 did not insist upon the leadership of a presidential cabinet, but submitted 
a proposal for solving the crisis of the German Government which has no 
connection with this term. 

4. As opposed to others, I have constantly stressed the necessity of a 
constitutionally admissible cooperation with the representation of the Volk and 
explicitly pledged that I wished to work exclusively in accordance with these 
legal requirements. 

5. Not only did I not demand a party dictatorship; just as in August of this 
year, I continue to be willing to conduct negotiations with all of the other 
parties in question in order to establish a foundation for a government. These 
negotiations were doomed to failure because it was intended regardless to 
maintain von Papen's Cabinet as a presidential cabinet at any cost. 

It is thus not necessary to desire to win my cooperation with other 
constructive forces in the nation, for I have already done everything humanly 
possible in that respect this summer, in spite of great animosity. However, I 
refuse to perceive this presidential Cabinet as a constructive force. And until 
now, I have been correct in my assessment of the actions of this Cabinet and the 
failure of this Cabinet's actions. 

6. As a result of this realization, I have also continued to warn against an 
experiment which will ultimately lead to naked violence and must fail because 
of it. 

7. Above all, I was not willing and will never in future be willing to place 
the Movement I have created at the disposal of interests other than those of the 
German Volk. In this respect I feel responsible to my conscience, to the honor 
of the Movement I head, and to the existence of millions of Germans who have, 
as a result of the recent political experiments, been led only deeper into 
impoverishment. 

192 



November 24, 1932 

In other respects, I may ask you to convey as always my sentiments of 
utmost devotion to His Excellency the Reich President. 
With the greatest respect, I remain faithfully yours, 

Adolf Hitler 

Using a somewhat less deferential tone, Hitler issued the following 
proclamation to the Party on November 25: 290 

National Socialists! Party Comrades! 

Following merely a brief observation of the actions of von Papen's Cabinet, 
I prophesied what, according to my insight and conviction, would be the results; 
now they have come to pass. 

When Herr von Papen promised to reduce the unemployment figure by 
two million by the onset of winter; when he pretended to alleviate the economic 
misery; when he pledged that he would solve the problems at home and 
abroad — countless Germans were instantly filled once more with trusting 
confidence. I issued a warning then, and I was more than right to do so. The 
economic misery has not lessened, unemployment is rising, Bolshevism is 
spreading throughout Germany, the isolation of the Reich in the rest of the 
world is almost complete. 

Never before has a cabinet in Germany held as much power, but never 
before has a government failed as has this small, exclusive class of our Volk. 

Today millions of the followers of our Movement will be inwardly grateful 
to me for not allying the Party which contains the last reserve of German faith, 
German power, and German hope with this ill-fated political and economic 
amateurism. 

I will be even less able to do this in future. — I know that this Government 
will continue its disastrous work. At the moment, I cannot prevent this. But one 
thing I will prevent, as long as I live, is that our only Movement be abandoned 
to this regime. 

They summoned me to Berlin to take part in remedying the government 
crisis but wanted all along to do nothing but save von Papen's Cabinet and 
subject me to a repeat of August 13. We National Socialists would once more 
have been given the honor of polishing this Government's dulled finish by being 
allowed to contribute one or two National Socialist Ministers. I then took the 
stand which I had to take as the leader of our Movement. 

Germany is what we want to save, not von Papen's Government! 

Because this time I took precautions to avoid a repeat of August 13, I was 
requested to bring about a parliamentary solution which had been rendered an 
impossibility from the very start by virtue of the conditions attached to it as a 
precaution. I nonetheless decided, in view of the great distress of our Volk, to 
make an offer which might clarify the interior motives of all those involved. 

The offer was rejected — thus, I believe, exposing the objective of the Reich 
President's advisors. 

Hence I may repeat today what I already stated on the evening of the 
election: this system must be broken in Germany, or else it will break the 
German nation. 

193 



November 25, 1932 

Thus the struggle will continue, and he who has followed the path this 
Cabinet has taken from June to today with both eyes open knows who must and 
will be the victor. 

Adolf Hitler 

The next two days, Hitler spoke with Hugenberg and other leaders 
in the Party. 291 On November 27, he delivered another campaign speech 
in Weimar in view of the approaching local elections in Thuringia. 
There he stated: 292 

The Reich President has been in power for seven years now. The results of 
his work lie before us. I do not know how long they think this can go on. 
Another seven years? It is possible that the advisors who counsel the Reich 
President will still be there then, a last, tiny island in the Wilhelmstrasse in 
Berlin. But by then the German Volk will have gone to waste, and I see no 
reason why an entire nation should perish for the sake of such advisors. 

I did not force myself upon the gentlemen in Berlin. But if they do summon 
me, then I demand that they only impose conditions upon me which are 
absolutely worthy of a man who wants and in fact is to assume such a 
responsibility. But one may only assume the responsibility if one can justify to 
one's own conscience the conviction that one is really able to accomplish the 
task, given the powers linked to this position. 

That which they think they can offer me today is something for which no 
one can accept the responsibility. 

Now a new cabinet will come; a cabinet with a few external modifications, 
but the same spirit. And in a few months the end will be worse than the 
beginning is today. Then the hour will come when they will have to turn to us 
a third time. 

Hitler expressed similar thoughts in an interview with a 
representative of the London Daily Express.™ 

On November 29, Hitler received a message in Munich from 
Schleicher, summoning him to Berlin. Hitler chose instead to travel to 
Weimar for the Thuringian campaign. 294 He was willing only to receive 
an intermediary from Schleicher and was careful to demand that an 
officer was sent this time. 

On December 1, a Lieutenant Colonel Ott 295 came to the Elephant 
Hotel in Weimar and informed Hitler of Schleicher's intention of 
assuming the chancellorship. Hitler subjected the Lieutenant Colonel to 
a nearly three-hour long monologue, 296 in which he elaborately 
expounded his various objections to Schleicher's appointment and 
explained his alleged fears that this would put the Reichswehr in an 
exposed position. Naturally, Hitler was not so naive as to believe that his 
flow of words would prevent Schleicher from taking office; in fact, he 
had no qualms about Schleicher's becoming "Winter Chancellor." His 

194 



December 1, 1932 

address to Ott constituted a carefully thought-out step in a larger plan 
to alienate the leading officers of the Reichswehr from Schleicher and to 
inform them of the political aims he would realize after acceding to 
power. This plan had priority over the Thuringian election campaign, 
particularly after Schleicher was appointed Chancellor on December 2. 
Although Hitler did deliver a number of speeches there (in Greiz and 
Altenburg on December l, 297 in Gotha and Jena on December 2, 298 and 
in Eichsfeld and Sonneberg on December 3 299 ), he then proceeded to 
Berlin and, on December 4, composed a voluminous letter to Colonel 
von Reichenau, Chief of Staff of the First Division in East Prussia. 300 

Using the specific situation in East Prussia in respect to military 
policy as an excuse, he dwelt for pages on domestic and foreign policy 
in Germany and the necessity of an "inner, mental armament." After 
criticizing the Reichswehr's contacts with Russia, 301 he arrived at the 
crux of the matter, namely Schleicher: 

I hold General von Schleicher's present cabinet to be particularly 
unfortunate because the very person at its fore must of necessity be even less able 
to comprehend this question than any other. This problem of the inner, mental 
armament of the nation cannot now — just as it never could before — be solved by 
an army, but rather only by a Weltanschauung. Allowing the army [to] become 
involved in this task makes it appear biased to the eyes of many just as, 
conversely, this serves, to the eyes of the masses, to compromise the task itself. 
For neither the police nor the military have ever destroyed Weltanschauungen, 
much less built up Weltanschauungen. However, without a Weltanschauung, no 
human structure can be maintained for any length of time. Weltanschauungen 
are the social contracts and the foundations required to build up large-scale 
human organizations. Therefore, in contrast to our statesmen today, I perceive 
the German tasks of the future as the following: 

1. Overcoming Marxism and its consequences to the point of total 
extinction. Establishment of a new unity of spirit and will in the Volk. 

2. Universal spiritual, moral and ethical armament of the nation on the basis 
of this new weltanschaulich unity. 

3. Technical armament. 

4. Organizational registration of the power of the Volk (Volkskraft) for the 
purpose of national defense. 

5. Attaining legal recognition in the rest of the world for the new situation 
which has already been brought about. 

Not surprisingly, this type of program would greatly impress 
Reichswehr officers. Hitler closed his letter on the following note: 

( ... ) East Prussia can only be saved if Germany is saved. It is plain that 
Schleicher's new Cabinet will once more delay and impede this one and only 
possible deliverance [namely Hitler's accession to power]. 

195 



December 4, 1932 

Hitler reserved a few further blows to Schleicher for the initial 
sessions of the new Reichstag on December 6 and 7. 

First of all, however, the National Socialist deputies were infused 
with a dose of Hitler's rhetoric and sworn in. In his speech on December 
5, Hitler also remarked upon the outcome of the local Thuringian 
election the day before. Compared with the election of July 31, the 
NSDAP had once again suffered losses. Hitler denied any real loss of 
votes, drew statistical parallels and claimed: 302 

The more the events press for a decision, all the more sacrifices are called for 
in the fight. The only thing that matters in this fight is who leads the last 
battalion onto the battlefield. 

Parallel to these remarks, Hitler stated during World War II: 303 

The war can last as long as it wants— but the last battalion on the field will 
be German! 

This type of thinking may have been appropriate at home, for the 
NSDAP was, in fact, the largest of all parties in Germany; however, it 
was purely Utopian when applied to a war, even on the basis of sheer 
numbers. When the Germans were down to their last battalion, their 
enemies still had entire armies at their disposal. 

The newly elected Reichstag convened for the first time on 
December 6. This time Hitler had made certain that his party 
nominated the chairman by seniority: the 82-year-old General von 
Litzmann, known as the "Lion of Brzeziny." 304 At a time when the 
highest-ranking German statesmen were generals, Hitler could 
demonstrate that he suffered no disadvantage: he, too, could produce 
generals if needed. The tough old soldier Litzmann was an enthusiastic 
admirer of Hitler and offered to be of assistance, 305 certainly with the 
best of intentions, in any way he could. 

Litzmann's address to the Reichstag was an indictment of Hindenburg 
for having vested his unqualified confidence in men like Hermann Miiller, 
Briining and von Papen, but having rejected Hitler. He accused the Reich 
President of attempting to evade the curse of history for having driven the 
German Volk to despair and placed it at the mercy of Bolshevism, while 
all the time the savior (Hitler) had been standing by. 

With the support of the Center and the Bavarian People's Party, 
Goring was then elected president in spite of the nay-votes of the 
Communists, the Social Democrats, and the German Nationalists. In his 
maiden speech, Goring expressed the deep regret of the National 
Socialists that the appointment of the Reich Minister of Defense as 

196 



December 6, 1932 

Chancellor had made the Reichswehr into a bone of political 
contention. Following these two insults to Schleicher, Hitler scored a 
further point against the new Chancellor on the second day of the 
Reichstag's session. Pursuant to Article 51 of the Constitution, the 
Chancellor was the representative of the President until new elections 
took place. If Hindenburg were to die, Schleicher would be Chancellor, 
President and Minister of Defense in one, which virtually amounted to 
military dictatorship. 

In order to prevent this, Hitler had a National Socialist draft bill 
introduced providing that, in future, the President of the 
Reichsgericht 306 was to represent the Reich President. During the 
debate, a German Nationalist deputy, von Freytag-Loringhoven, 
objected and proposed that the Reich President be granted the right to 
appoint his own representative in a political last will and testament. 

However, this was rejected, and the NSDAP's motion was passed 
with a two-thirds majority. Only the Communists and the German 
Nationalists had voted against the bill. 

Hitler made a mental note of Freytag-Loringhoven's idea and 
utilized it at Hindenburg's death in 1934 and when drawing up his own 
will in 1945, although in both instances he violated the Constitution and 
the bill of representation passed at his own instigation in 1932. 

The National Socialists used a loophole in the standing orders to 
delay the motion submitted by the Communists for a vote of no 
confidence against Schleicher's Cabinet and then declared a recess before 
it could be discussed. Hitler wanted to sit back and watch Schleicher 
fidget through the winter months in office. The NSDAP and the KPD 
together had an absolute majority in the Reichstag: they could pass a 
vote of no confidence any time they chose — and when Hitler decided the 
time was right. Everything appeared to be in good order. But then the 
bomb Schleicher had planted went off. 

Like every presidential chancellor, the new man in office was forced 
to seek a tolerating majority in the Reichstag. He had approached the 
Center, the Social Democratic unions and, because he could not come 
to terms with Hitler, he had also turned to Strasser in the hope that he 
might be able to win the support of at least some of the National 
Socialist deputies for his government program. 

Strasser had met with Schleicher on December 3 without Hitler's 
consent and discussed the question of joining the Cabinet as Vice 
Chancellor. Gregor Strasser was a queer fish. Politicizing apothecary 
that he was, he would have fit better in a bourgeois party, but there he 

197 



December 6, 1932 

would probably have had little chance of success. His political and 
economic ideas 307 represented a conglomeration of notions taken from a 
wild cross-section of programs, and he constantly changed them to suit 
the situation. Strasser had risen within the Party to become 
Rekhsorganisationsleiter (Head of Political Organization) and he 
undoubtedly did possess organizational talent. He also enjoyed a certain 
following in the upper party echelons, but only as long as Hitler was 
absent. Strasser had never completely understood that only one person— 
namely Hitler — made decisions in the National Socialist Party. The fact 
that Strasser believed he might become a minister under Schleicher 
without Hitler's consent demonstrates how little he fathomed the man 
and his Party. Ultimately, he paid for this mistake with his life. 308 

As though he were a member of a bourgeois association, Strasser 
composed a letter to Hitler on December 8, after having exchanged 
some words with him, in which he resigned from all of his party posts. 
Apparently he expected Hitler to recall him immediately and plead with 
him on bended knee to resume his duties. He completely failed to realize 
what a sacrilege he had committed by resisting Hitler's will. 

Hitler, on the other hand, had realized all too well that Strasser's 
behavior indicated a severe crisis both within the Party and in public 
opinion. After the loss of the election, a series of further signs of 
disintegration seemed to indicate that the Party's course was on a rapid 
decline. Initially, Hitler slumped into such a depression that he even 
stated to Goebbels: 309 

If the Party ever falls apart, I will take a gun and end it all in a minute. 

But he soon recovered. At his instructions, the Reich Press Office of 
the NSDAP issued the following statement: 310 

With the Fiihrer's permission, Pg. Gregor Strasser is granted sick leave for 
the next three weeks. Any further conjectures in this connection are incorrect 
and have no basis in fact. 

Then he recalled his persuasive powers of oratory and convened a 
gathering of the National Socialist deputies to the Reichstag and all 
available Gauleiters and party inspectors at the palace of the Reichstag 
President. He had resolved to take the sentimental route this time and 
delivered a one-hour talk in which, almost in tears, he narrated the sad 
account of the profound disloyalty of which he had been made a victim. 
If one can believe eyewitness reports, he went so far as to threaten 
suicide if he was not sworn absolute loyalty and blind obedience on the 

198 



December 8, 1932 

spot. The speech was a tremendous success: every single person present 
hastened to raise his hand to pledge unswerving loyalty to Hitler. 
Strasser was totally stripped of his following. Even his closest friend, 
Gottfried Feder, renewed his vow of loyalty to Hitler. 311 

The Volkischer Beobachter published the following report of the 
scene: 312 

The Fiihrer then delivered an address to the parliamentary party which 
closed with the observation that the power and strength of the NSDAP lay first 
and foremost in the loyalty, in the solidarity unto death, upon which any attacks 
would certainly be dashed to pieces. 

Goring stated that not only the leaders and deputies of the NSDAP, but the 
entire Movement as well were rallying around their Fiihrer with moral support 
in this hour. The entire Party then spontaneously formed a circle around the 
Fiihrer and gave him thunderous ovations. Every single member of the Party felt 
the need to make a personal solemn vow of loyalty to the Fiihrer. Furthermore, 
the Reichstag party formally submitted the unanimous statement that they 
stood solidly behind their Fiihrer, Adolf Hitler. 

At the same time, the Volkischer Beobachter also published 
declarations of loyalty from all Gauleiters and Landesinspekteurs, the 
NSDAP deputies in the Prussian Landtag, the SA and SS with Chief of 
Staff Rohm, Gottfried Feder and others. 

Hitler had succeeded in creating a rhetorical masterpiece in his 
sentimental speech of December 9, and he made effective use of this type 
of bathetic appeal once again two years later 313 when a crisis split the 
Reichswehr and the SS. 

Just as he had exploited the SA crisis in fall of 1930, 314 'Hitler 
similarly capitalized on the Strasser affair to enhance his own absolute 
power within the Party, Then he had taken on the post of Oberster SA 
Fiihrer, OSAF (Supreme Commander of the SA) and appointed Ernst 
Rohm Chief of Staff; now he took over the political organization 
himself and nominated the devoted Robert Ley as leader of staff. The 
respective announcement was issued on December 9: 315 

Decree 

1. From today onwards until further notice I am assuming the leadership of 
political organization. 

2. I hereby appoint the former Reichsinspekteur II, Robert Ley, as my 
leader of staff for political organization. 

3. On Wednesday, December 13, I will issue new guidelines and orders 
respective to the appeal of November 6, 1932 toward bringing about an increase 
in the Movement's power. 

Berlin, December 9, 1932 Adolf Hitler 

199 



December 10, 1932 

Berlin, December 9, 1932 Adolf Hitler 

Hitler wasted no time in launching a new speechmaking campaign 
designed to erase the bad impression the Strasser crisis had left 
throughout the country. The very next day found him at the 
microphones, albeit at internal party rallies, for the Government had 
declared a truce until January 2. However, this did not constitute any 
real hindrance, for the press made certain that Hitler's words met with 
an adequate response in the public. 

On December 10, Hitler stated before 15,000 Amtswalters (party 
officials) in Breslau (Messehof): 316 

The Movement has a right to be in power, and I will never sell this right. 
You will not be able to find anyone in our Movement who will sell it for less. 
This Movement stands unshakable in German history as firmly as a rock in the 
ocean. 

The speculation that the Movement is disintegrating is not called for. 
Yesterday the NSDAP crushed the false hopes of our opponents in Berlin. The 
Movement stands fast and unshaken. 

Even if our opponents may have defeated us in terms of figures at the last 
Reichstag election, we will pay them back next year with interest and compound 
interest. I believe that we will confront the gentlemen in March once more in an 
open battle. 

On December 11, Hitler spoke at Amtswalter conventions in 
Dresden (Zirkus Sarrasani), Chemnitz (Kaufmannisches Vereinshaus), 
and in Leipzig (Zoo), where he announced: 317 

I am the one who has fixed the price of the Movement. No one will offer it 
at less than that. But if anyone should ever be found to do so, he would be lost 
in the Party within an hour and would have no Movement behind him. We will 
not allow ourselves to be lured into the den of intrigue where the others are 
experts at the game. 

Time will not wear me down. Certainly we lost thirty seats, but in the 
meantime our opponents have lost two governments! And the new Cabinet will 
not last any longer. We will regain those thirty seats. Our supply of recruits is 
larger than theirs, and I will place this task first and foremost and without any 
consideration to myself. 

On January 2 the Burgfriede will be over, and on the third we will be back 
in the thick of the fight. 

There was no need to mention Strasser's name, for it was obvious to 
whom he was referring. 

On December 15, Hitler announced the dissolution of various party 
posts and offices. His aim in doing so was to crush Strasser's political 
apparatus and obliterate every trace of his work. 

On December 16, Hitler spoke to the NSDAP in the Prussian 

200 



December 16, 1932 

Schleicher had attacked due to the remarks he had directed against 
Hindenburg. Hitler's retort to Schleicher's programmatic radio speech of 
December 15 was: "1st das alles?" Schleicher's era, just as those preceding 
it, was destined to be but a short episode in the history of the nation. 

We have the youth; we have greater courage, a stronger will, and more 
tenacity. What else do we need to win? 

On December 17 and 18, Hitler delivered speeches on the same topic 
at further Amtswalter conventions in Halle, Magdeburg, and 
Hamburg. 319 

He stated in Halle: 

Today we are the strongest political party in Germany. If our opponents are 
really serious about reaching agreement, then I ask them: why have you not, my 
advocates and patrons in the bourgeois camp, allowed [me] the power which 
you would not have hesitated to grant to any SPD Bonzen (big shots) to date? I 
will not allow myself to be treated worse than "the organizers of treason." 

Do you believe that it would have been more advantageous for our 
Movement had we been torpedoed together with von Papen? I have never 
perceived Reich Government as the Verdun of the Western Front. It is not our 
job to do things like put ruined states back in order and then allow ourselves to 
be kicked for it in the end. We have already experienced that, for example in 
Thuringia. I protest most strongly against the accusation that we have only made 
mistakes. Had my work consisted of nothing but mistakes, how could seven 
men have turned into a Movement of millions? 

I will never be able to act like any arbitrary party leader who one day turns 
up at a college lecture because his business has gone bankrupt. I am not fighting 
in order to make concessions, and much less to capitulate. 

On December 20, Hitler denied reports published in the Frankfurter 
Zeitung and the Vorwarts: 320 

The December 19 edition of the Frankfurter Zeitung and other newspapers 
reported that I stated to the Amtswalters in Halle that I had "punished" Gregor 
Strasser; that I had been particularly lenient in the first conflict with the Strasser 
brothers; and that now the punishment must be all the more severe. The reports 
go on to say that, when I then had each of the Amtswalters solemnly swear 
eternal obedience to me, a fight broke out and the opposition forced its way into 
the hall. 

This report in the Frankfurter Zeitung is pure fabrication from beginning to 
end. I did not touch upon the Strasser case in any way whatsoever. The name 
Gregor Strasser was not mentioned. It goes without saying that the "opposition" 
did not force its way into the hall, and it follows that no fighting (Prugelei) took 
place; it could well have been, however, that the police cleared rampaging 
Communists off the streets. 

Adolf Hitler 

201 



December 20, 1932 

For a fact, Hitler regarded the Strasser affair as a closed case. He 
added the postscript on June 30, 1934. 

The year 1932 was coming to an end, and Hitler's struggle for power 
was also nearing its close. During the preceding twelve months, he had 
succeeded in eliminating nearly all of his opponents: first Groener, then 
Briining, then von Papen. Schleicher, although a dangerous adversary, 
was isolated and would fall sooner or later. The Communists had 
become fair game on public streets. The despised Social Democratic 
rulers in Prussia had lost their influence. The politicians of the Center, 
ousted from their key positions, were now willing to accept Hitler's 
chancellorship. A wedge had been driven into Hindenburg's dislike for 
Hitler. Von Papen had been forced to learn, from the lessons of August 
to November, that it was no longer possible to accomplish anything 
without Hitler and that he therefore had to be given his way. 

When von Papen left the chancellory, Hindenburg — with tears in his 
eyes— gave him a portrait signed "Ich hatt' einen Kameraden." 321 In 
reality, he did not lose this comrade at all. Von Papen continued to live 
in the Reich Chancellor's quarters and came and went at the Reich 
President's as he chose. It would not take long for Hindenburg to realize 
that it was now necessary to turn to Hitler. The fruits of the "struggle" 
were ripe for harvesting. And it was high time for Hitler to reap his 
crops: the world economic crisis was coming to an end, and in Geneva 
Germany had been granted military equality on December 11. The 
chaos at home and abroad could not last much longer. 

At times, Hitler himself had doubted whether his domestic struggle 
would be successful. The fact that he did triumph in the end filled him 
with a sense of satisfaction from which he drew the rest of his life. It 
served as a recurrent theme in his speeches, particularly during the 
Second World War. In reality, this "triumph" had caused him more than 
a great satisfaction: it had been tantamount to a genuine psychological 
fixation which brought with it lasting consequences for his later deeds 
and decisions. 

While Hitler had occasionally confessed in 1932 that he, too, was 
capable of making mistakes, his surprising domestic success instilled in 
him the conviction that he would always be right in the end. Any 
thought he contemplated, any goal he set was programmed to become 
reality, just as his tremendous undertaking of gaining power in Germany 
had proven possible. Regardless of the extent to which people might 
entertain doubts as to the feasibility of Hitler's ideas, regardless of how 
strongly the entire world opposed them — in his opinion, the year 1932 

202 



December 31, 1932 

had proven that he was absolutely incapable of erring, for Providence 
had decreed that he should always be right. This December of 1932, the 
Gottmensch Hitler had been born. 

Later he once stated that he had "used up his best years" 322 in vying 
for power within Germany. This was certainly not the case in terms of 
his physical condition, for his vitality showed no indication whatsoever 
of lessening from 1933 onwards. One might, however, speculate that the 
price he paid in the course of 1932 was his last morsel of foreign policy 
sense— if ever he had had such a thing to start with. 

The consequences which Hitler drew from the events of 1932 
demonstrated that he had completely lost contact with reality. He 
believed that he need only treat the Russians as he had treated the 
German Communists, and the British as he had the German 
Nationalists, and world power would simply fall into his hands as a 
result. 

The year 1932 is not only the key to Hitler's ascent to power, but 
also to his foreign and military policy, which he based upon the 
principle: "I hold the firm conviction that this battle will end not a whit 
differently from the battle I once waged at home!" 323 



203 



THE YEAR 1933 



Major Events in Summary 

On January 30, 1933, Hitler finally achieved the success he had been 
denied throughout the year 1932: he was made Reich Chancellor and 
head of a presidential cabinet. 1 Unlike his two predecessors, Papen and 
Schleicher, he was able to secure a majority in parliament by insisting 
upon new Reichstag elections. The experiences of the preceding months 
had shown that the support of the Reich President alone was not a 
sufficiently reliable basis for governing the country. However, as Hitler 
had pledged repeatedly in October 1932, 2 he was determined, come what 
may, not to relinquish control of the government he had finally taken 
over. 

To "take power swiftly and with a single stroke," 3 was his declared 
goal. The post which Hitler had assumed was that of responsible leader 
of German politics as defined by the Weimar Constitution. And now 
that he was in power, he intended, without further delay, to set aside 
those parts of this same Constitution which limited the scope of his 
power and granted other public figures and groups a basis for claiming 
their own constitutional rights and exercising political influence. 

"We will amend the Constitution in a strictly constitutional 
manner," Hitler had still claimed in 1932, 4 warning his opponents to 
refrain from seizing power by force or violating the Constitution. In 
practice, he now proved rather lax in observing constitutional rules. 
Indeed, there was little reason to abide by the law, for his predecessors 
had already demonstrated the extent to which Article 48 could be 
exploited to defeat the Constitution's own purposes. 

The decree of the Reich President toward "Restoring Order to the 
Government in Prussia" (Herstellung geordneter Regierungsverhaltnisse in 
Preussen), promulgated on February 6, 5 constituted one such flagrant 
breach of the Constitution and moreover an open contravention of the 
judgment of the Constitutional Court of October 25, 1932. Hitler was 
careful to have this decree— which dissolved the Prussian Landtag— 
counter-signed by Papen: one of the few cases in which Hitler allowed 
Papen to act as his proxy in exercising the functions of Reich Chancellor. 
The next step was the "Decree for the Protection of the Volk 

205 



The Year 1933 

and the State" (Verordnung zum Schutz von Volk and Staat) promulgated 
on February 28. 6 Not only did this law provide that, if law and order 
were jeopardized, all of the articles of the Weimar Constitution could be 
rescinded (e.g. inviolability of the individual and the home; privacy of 
postal communications, etc.); moreover, the Reich Government (in 
reality, the Reich Minister of the Interior) was delegated the right 
normally held by the Reich President alone to appoint Reich 
Commissars in the German Linder and assume the authority vested in 
public offices. After March 5, Hitler made respective use of this 
possibility in all those Linder not governed by the National Socialists. 

The next breach of the Reich Constitution followed on March 12, 
1933. Article 3 provided that the colors of the Reich be black-red-gold. 
Hindenburg and Hitler decreed on March 12 7 by virtue of an edict of the 
Reich President that the black-white-red and the swastika flag were to be 
hoisted jointly "until the question of the Reich colors has been 
definitively settled." 

With the majority required to amend the Constitution, the 
Reichstag passed the "Law for Removing the Distress of Volk and 
Reich" (Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk and Reich) on March 24 
("Enabling Act") 8 which provided that, in future, the Reich 
Government was to be empowered to enact laws and the Chancellor, 
not the President, was to draw up and promulgate new legislation. The 
Constitution could be amended by government decree insofar as the 
amendment did not concern the institutions of the Reichstag or the 
Reichsrat as such. Allegedly, the rights of the Reich President were to 
remain inviolate, but alone the fact that it was now the Reich 
Chancellor who drew up legislation substantially limited the President's 
powers. Furthermore, whereas the question of succession to the office 
of Reich President had been anchored in the Constitution, the Enabling 
Act contained no respective guarantees. 9 

Two new laws passed by the Reich Government deprived the Lander 
of power: the "First Coordination Law of Lander and Reich" (Vorlaufiges 
Gesetz zur Gleichschaltung der Lander mit dem Reich) of March 3 1 10 vested 
the legislative power of the Landtage in the Land Governments and 
established the former in the same proportions as those resulting from 
the Reichstag election of March 5. The "Second Coordination Law of 
Lander and Reich" (Zweites Gesetz zur Gleichschaltung der Lander mit 
dem Reich) of April 7 11 introduced Reich Governors (Reichsstatthalters) 
in all of the Lander who were empowered to appoint the Land Govern- 
ments. In Prussia, the largest Land, Hitler personally assumed 

206 



The National Revolution 

the office of Reichsstatthalter. This served to abolish the Reichsrat as 
well, the local government which was allegedly to remain inviolable 
pursuant to the Enabling Act. 

The next step was the elimination of trade unions, political parties 
and leagues. The union offices had already been closed on May 2, and on 
May 10 Hitler decreed the formation of a new National Socialist 
organization for the workers, the Deutsche Arbeitsfront, DAF (German 
Labor Front), and appointed Robert Ley as its head. 

The Communist Party had participated one last time in the election 
of March 5. However, the elected deputies were prohibited from taking 
office. A law passed on May 26 seized the assets of the KPD. While the 
Communist Party was not officially prohibited, the Social Democratic 
Party was abolished by decree on June 22. The assets of the SPD and the 
Reichsbanner had already been seized on May 10. 

On June 21, the German National Fighting Leagues 
(Kampfverbande) were dissolved. A section of the Stahlhelm was 
integrated into the SA and the rest placed under Hitler. 

On June 27, the German National People's Party (DNVP; 
participated in the 1933 elections as "Kampffront Schwarz-Weiss-Rot") 
dissolved; Hugenberg resigned as Reich Minister. 

The remaining parties announced their own dissolutions in short 
succession: the German State Party (former German Democratic Party, 
DDP) on June 28; the Christian Socialist People's Service (Christlich- 
Sozialer Volksdienst, CSV) and the German-Hanoverian Party 
(DeutschHannoversche Partei) on June 30; the Party of People's Justice 
(Volksrechtspartei, VRP) on July 1; the German People's Party (DVP) 
and the Bavarian People's Party (BVP) on July 4; and the Center Party 
on July 5. 

On July 14, Hitler passed a law stipulating that the National 
Socialist German Workers' Party constituted the only political party in 
Germany and that any attempt to establish a new party was punishable 
with penal servitude of up to three years. 12 

Hitler could have been well pleased with his success in having taken 
power "swiftly and with a single stroke." But subsequent developments 
showed that he was in no way satisfied with what he had achieved and 
continued his inexorable labors to expand his power. 

By comparison, his methods were much more lax in the economic 
sector. He granted the economists and departmental ministers a relatively 
free hand while strictly prohibiting any currency manipulation. The 
long accumulated energy of German labor quickly regained its momen- 
tum in Hitler's economic program of repairing buildings, 

207 



The Year 1933 

constructing roads, boosting private enterprise with government 
commissions, promoting motorization, etc. This and the waning 
Depression united to ban quickly the economic misery which had 
plagued Germany for so many years. The majority of the Germans, who 
had long been victimized by poverty, were thus quite satisfied with 
Hitler's government and paid little attention to his legislative measures 
to eliminate dissenting political parties and suppress political opponents. 

Abroad, the developments inside Germany were naturally viewed 
with concern. The foreign press openly criticized Germany's evolution 
to a one-party system or, more precisely, to a dictatorship under Hitler. 

Infuriated by this criticism, Hitler decreed a boycott of all Jewish 
businesses in Germany. He regarded a measure of this sort as an 
appropriate means for bringing pressure to bear on his foreign 
opponents, and its success seemed to justify his expectations. 13 

The Concordat with the Vatican, concluded on July 8, not only 
helped Hitler to move the Center Party to proclaim its dissolution but 
also strengthened his position abroad. 14 

On the other hand, he desired to avoid any consolidation in 
Germany's foreign policy. Domestic chaos had brought him to power; 
chaos abroad would, so he hoped, allow him to attain his foreign policy 
goals. If the world or, more specifically, the League of Nations accepted 
Germany's claims for equality, revision of the Treaty of Versailles, etc., 
he would no longer be able to make demand upon demand, armed with 
the demeanor of injured innocence which he used to justify both his 
aims and his methods. 

Hitler was thus assiduous in his efforts to put into practice the 
equality of rights for Germans resolved by the Major Powers on 
December 11, 1932. On October 14 he kept the promise made in his 
foreign policy speech to the Reichstag on May 17 15 and declared 
Germany's withdrawal from the League of Nations and the 
Disarmament Conference. 16 As usual, he succeeded in killing two birds 
with one stone. He had long been irked by the Reichstag elected on 
March 5, for it still contained deputies of the German Nationalists, the 
Center Party, etc., albeit as guests of the NSDAP. Now he had the 
Reichstag dissolved, allegedly in order to procure the people's stand on 
a possible withdrawal from the League of Nations. Of course a plebiscite 
would have served this purpose just as well, if not better. 

But Hitler wanted a Reichstag composed solely of National 
Socialists, and this he achieved in the new elections of November 12. 1933 
was a successful year for Hitler in every way. Unlike Mussolini, he was not 

208 



The National Revolution 

forced to either fight for the absolute domination of his party or to 
negotiate with the Vatican for compensation. 17 Within a few short 
months, Hitler was able to take over every major position of power 
with the exception of Head of State and Supreme Commander of the 
Armed Forces. But in order to achieve this, he had had to spend five 
times as long combatting much stronger resistance until he, like 
Mussolini, ultimately became Head of Government. 



209 



January 1, 1933 



Report and Commentary 



1 



In his "New Year's Proclamation to the National Socialists and 
Party Comrades," 18 following the usual recapitulation and forecast, 
Hitler stressed that under no circumstances would he retreat from his 
previous demands concerning a formation of the government. 

Today, more than ever, I am determined to the utmost not to sell out our 
Movement's right of the firstborn for the cheap substitute of a participation in 
a government devoid of power. That protest of the astute that we should come 
from inside and through the back door and gain gradual success is nothing but 
the same protest which bade us, in 1917 and 1918, to reach an understanding 
with irreconcilable opponents and then to debate with them peacefully in a 
League of Nations. Thanks to the traitors from within, the German Volk 
surrendered itself to this advice. The Kaiser's lamentable advisors believed that 
they should not oppose him. But as long as the Almighty gives me life and 
health, I will defend myself to my last breath against any such attempt and I 
know that, in this resolve, I have the millions of zealous supporters and fighters 
of our Movement behind me who did not hope, argue and suffer with the 
intention of allowing the proudest and greatest uprising of the German Volk to 
sell its mission for a few ministerial posts! 

If our opponents invite us to take part in a government like this, they are 
not doing it with the intention of slowly but surely putting us in power, but 
rather in the conviction that they are thus wresting it from us forever! 

Great are the tasks of our Movement for the coming year. But the greatest 
task of all will be to make it as clear as possible to our fighters, members, and 
followers that this Party is not an end in itself, but merely a means to an end. 
They should realize that the organization, with all its greatness and beauty, only 
has a purpose, and thus the justification to exist, when it is the eternally 
unforbearing and belligerent herald and advocate of the National Socialist idea 
of a German Volksgemeinschaft to come! 

Everything which this Movement calls its own — its organizations, whether 
in the SA or the SS, in the political leadership, or the organization of our 
peasants and our youth — all of this can have only the single purpose of fighting 
for this new Germany, in which there will ultimately be no bourgeoisie and no 
more proletarians, but only German Volksgenossen. 

210 



January 1, 1933 

This is the greatest task with which our Volk has been confronted for more 
than a thousand years. 

The movement which accomplishes this task will engrave its name for all 
eternity in the immortal book of the history of our nation. 

Thus in the face of the red flood, the dangers in the East and France's eternal 
threat; in the midst of need and wretchedness, misery and desperation, we, my 
party comrades, SA and SS men, National Socialist peasants and National 
Socialist youth, shall clench our fists even more firmly about our banner and, 
with it, march into the coming year. 

We shall be willing to sacrifice and fight, and would rather pass away 
ourselves than allow that Movement to pass away which is Germany's last 
strength, last hope, and last future. 

We salute the National Socialist Movement, its dead martyrs and its living 
fighters! 

Long live Germany, the Volk and the Reich! 

Munich, December 31, 1932 Adolf Hitler 

In this New Year's message, Hitler cited the peasants in the same 
breath with the SA and the SS. Indeed, the peasants were his largest asset 
at that time, comprising the bulk of his voters. 

In a lengthy address 19 held on January 3 at a Convention of the 
NSDAP on agricultural policies in Munich, Hitler underlined the 
special significance of the peasantry for the National Socialist 
Movement. With a certain amount of bluntness, he proclaimed that the 
theory of Blut and Boden (blood and soil) applied not to domestic, but 
rather to foreign policy. Here he was referring to the acquisition of new 
land and soil which he had propagated in Mein Kampf. On January 3, 
Hitler declared in part as follows: 

The fulfillment of the fundamental idea of national policy reawakened by 
National Socialism which is expressed in the theory of Blut und Boden will be 
accompanied by the most thorough and revolutionary reorganization which has 
ever taken place. 

Our demand for strengthening the basic racial principles of our Volk, which 
this term signifies and which at the same time includes safeguarding the existence 
of our Volk in general, is also the determining factor in all of the aims of 
National Socialist domestic and foreign policy. 

Once we have succeeded in purging and regenerating our Volk, foreign 
countries will very soon realize that they are confronted with a different Volk 
than hitherto. 

And thus the prerequisites will be given for putting our own land and soil 
in thorough order and securing the life of the nation on our own for long years 
to come. The development in world economics and politics which automatically 
leads to an increasing blockade against our exports in international markets 
makes a major, fundamental transposition an absolute necessity. Even if 
today's rulers shut their eyes to this fact, the chronic cause of our grave 

211 



January 3, 1933 

economic need and appalling unemployment is nevertheless an indisputable 
reality. Either we eliminate this cause and accomplish the required 
reorganization with vigor and energy in good time, or fate will bring it about by 
force and destroy our Volk. If we succeed in putting the basic principle of Blut 
und Boden into practice at home and abroad, then for the first time we, as a 
Volk, will not be tossed at the mercy of events, but rather will then master 
circumstances on our own. 

Just as the peasant who sows each year must believe in his harvest without 
knowing whether it may be destroyed by wind and weather and his work 
remain unrewarded, so must we too have the political courage to do what 
necessarily must be done — regardless of whether success is already in sight at the 
moment or not. The German peasant in particular will understand even more 
of our National Socialist struggle in future than hitherto. But if the German 
peasant, the foundation and life source of our Volk, is saved, then the entire 
nation will once again be able to look ahead to the future with confidence. 

On January 4, two politically significant conferences took place in 
Germany: one in Berlin and the other in Cologne. 

In Berlin, the aged Reich President conferred with Gregor Strasser, 
to whom he had been introduced by Reich Chancellor von Schleicher. 
It appears that Hindenburg formed a quite good personal opinion of 
Strasser. But what was he to do with this renegade Reichstag deputy 
who had lost all support since his break with Hitler? 

The conference— and its sequel on January 11— produced no tangible 
results. Hindenburg and Schleicher could not make up their minds 
whether or not to appoint Strasser Vice Chancellor. 

In Cologne, Hitler and von Papen met at the home of banker Kurt 
Freiherr von Schroder 20 on January 4. Hitler had kept this meeting 
secret from most of his Unterfuhrers, choosing only his secretary, 
Rudolf Hess, the Reichsfuhrer SS, Heinrich Himmler, and his economic 
advisor, Wilhelm Keppler, to accompany him. 21 Keppler, who was 
incidentally also to play an instrumental role in the Anschluss of Austria 
in 1938, had arranged the conference. 

It would be false to assume that financial matters were discussed at 
the Cologne meetings attended only by Hitler, von Papen and Schroder. 
Hitler despised money and regarded it as beneath his dignity to discuss 
financial problems. He had enough followers who relieved him of 
making such distasteful requests. Upon hearing Hitler speak, a great 
number of affluent Germans opened their wallets of their own accord to 
donate to the lofty national causes he espoused. 

The three partners to the talks in Cologne discussed other matters, 
namely when and how Hindenburg could be moved to appoint Hitler 
Reich Chancellor. Freiherr von Schroder had already made a lauded 

212 



January 4, 1933 

contribution toward this end in November by forwarding to 
Hindenburg a memorandum, drawn up by leading German economists, 
which decidedly supported Hitler's chancellorship. 22 

Von Papen, who had experienced Hitler's animosity at first hand 
from August to November 1932, had since dismounted his high horse 
and was now willing to acknowledge Hitler's leadership. His dealings 
with Schleicher may have accelerated this change of attitude. It is 
nonetheless quite possible that Schleicher was not favored with a single 
word at the discussions. 

The joint communique issued by Hitler and Papen on January 5, 
after news of their conference in Cologne had leaked to the press, read 
as follows: 23 

In response to the false conjectures widely circulated in the press concerning 
the meeting between Adolf Hitler and the former Reich Chancellor von Papen, 
the undersigned hereby state that the discussion was exclusively limited to 
questions regarding the possibility of a major national and political united front, 
and that in particular the respective views of the parties on the Reich cabinet 
presently in office were not discussed in any way, as the talk was of a general 
nature. 

Hitler's contribution to the subject matter discussed at this meeting 
is most clearly evidenced by the speech he gave on the same evening, i.e. 
January 4, in Detmold, marking the start of the election campaign to the 
Landtag in Lippe, for — as we have seen — his remarks in political 
negotiations differed little from his proclamations in public rallies. 

He stated in Detmold as follows: 24 

What brought the National Socialist Movement into being is the yearning 
for a true community of the German Volk which inspired our nation's best for 
centuries. This Movement gives us something we cannot express in words, but 
rather only sense, and it is something we know must be done. 

Fate has given us the great task of eliminating the disunity of the German 
Volk, the roots of its misfortune. Simple emergency decrees passed down from 
above by means of legislation cannot remedy this plight. The important thing is 
not that today those in the Wilhelmstrasse imagine that they are governing the 
National Socialists; what counts is who has conquered the German individual. 
If today I were given the alternative of becoming Reich Chancellor but not being 
able to win more workers than hitherto, or on the other hand, not to rule but 
to win over millions of new working people to the nation within the course of 
the coming months, I would say: "Keep the government, I am reaching for the 
Volk! Sooner or later, with this Volk, I will surely unlock the door to the 
Wilhelmstrasse!" 

When we fight for the German individual, we are doing it not with the 
ultimate goal of securing his vote, but rather because we want to reeducate him 

213 



January 4, 1933 

and move him to take on the great fateful task of uniting as a Volk and thus 
liberating the nation. 

Yet the Movement can only fulfill this one great mission if it 
uncompromisingly exterminates the things which tear our Volk apart. And 
when the bourgeoisie run our Movement down and ask, "Why do you attack 
the bourgeoisie as well as the Marxists?" then my answer to them is: Because 
there would be no Marxists, and would never have been any, had the bourgeois 
parties not existed previously. 

The bourgeois parties would be happy to have only a fraction of the faith, 
idealism and sense of sacrifice our Movement calls its own. Where would the 
bourgeoisie be today were it not for this brown army, this brown bulwark, this 
brown wall! 

My opponents have had a generation's time. At least they should refrain 
from criticizing me. I have worked for thirteen years, spent thirteen years in 
struggle or in prison for Germany and have created the Volksgemeinschaft of 
this Movement. What have my critics — who also could have taken on these 
tasks — accomplished in this same space of time? 

All that is good in the ideas of our opponents in power today was stolen 
from us, and whatever is not from us is not even deserving of criticism. 
Schleicher's government will be a continuation of Papen's government and will 
end where Papen's government ended. 

I have refused to become a minister without portfolio not because I shy 
away from the responsibility, but rather because that path does not lead to the 
goal. In any case, it certainly would have been easier to stand before a 
microphone every four weeks and read off what an entire ministry has 
accomplished. 

And when people say to me that I should have entered the government and 
come to power through the back door, then I can only say that I have never 
learned how to play behind the scenes and I never want to learn it! 

I will never allow myself and the Movement to be fobbed off with half- 
measures, and if they say: then we'll dissolve once more. Do it! It doesn't bother 
us! It is in any case the German individual we have to fight for. 

Neither can the threat of exhausting the voters scare us. In the end, it makes 
no difference what percentage of the German Volk makes history. The only 
important thing is that we are the last ones who make history in Germany! 

And by the way, when they talk about decline, they should not deceive 
themselves: the wave will return! The Movement will continue to present its 
ideas to the people over and over again until they are under our spell. 

We will not tire and will continue resolute on our path until the finish. In 
the end, with our faith, our sacrifice, and our willpower, we will triumph after 
all. 

And thus this election will also take us one step further on the road which 
leads us upwards to the liberation of Germany! 

Hitler's remarks to the effect that he had never learned to "play 
behind the scenes" and never even known the desire to do so appears 
rather curious in light of the secret conference he had held with Papen 

214 



January 4, 1933 

only shortly before. But the main emphasis of both the Detmold speech 
and his statements in Cologne lay in the sentence: "The [National 
Socialist] wave will return!" 

November and December 1932 doubtlessly brought an ebb in the 
flood of National Socialist votes, and Hitler's opponents— including 
Schleicher — were already gloating in anticipation of what they felt to be 
the certain decline of the NSDAP. 

Hitler's discussions in Cologne alone could not have brought about 
a change in the political situation: a change required obvious proof of his 
unbroken popularity and a new advance on the part of the NSDAP. 

Hitler was determined to turn the Lippe election results of January 
15 into a decisive criterium, similar to the Landtag election in 
Oldenburg on May 29, 1932, which was to tip the scales and oust the 
Chancellor. 

Tireless as always in election campaigns, for the next ten days Hitler 
spoke in every corner of the small Land of Lippe-Detmold. In 
Leopoldshohe and Orlinghausen he stated on January 5: 25 

I believe in the triumph of our Movement, because I believe in the future of 
Germany. Those in power today have projects and plans but not the strength to 
realize them. I, on the contrary, have laid the groundwork and forged the 
weapon for the future. The future belongs to whoever wins over and reorganizes 
the Volk. 

Each unsuccessful attempt to break up the Movement by internal strife only 
proves once again the hardness and iron determination of our community. We 
were not invited to join the government so that the Movement could 
accomplish its goals, but rather so that the others could accomplish their goals 
in spite of the Movement. 

I choose not to take the back way, but to step out, freely and openly before 
the Volk. The men at the top will lose cabinet after cabinet against us until they 
are forced to give way, not from behind, but from ahead. 

We are fighting constantly and everywhere, at every corner, every hour of 
the day! What is happening now is not the uprising of Germany, but rather an 
attempt to misuse the uprising of Germany. 

A Reich is coming, born of the power of this Movement, and the signs of 
this coming Reich will be the signs of the Movement. 

On January 6, Hitler spoke in Augustdorf and Horn, 26 on January 7 
in Calldorf and Hohenhausen, and on January 8 at the Schwalenberg 
Castle. 27 In an interview that day with his press chief, Otto Dietrich, 
Hitler emphasized that any new government would have to include 
himself as Chancellor. At the same time, he once more confirmed his 
discussion with Papen: 28 

215 



January 8, 1933 

Question: The crux of the public attacks and propaganda of your opponents 
aimed at the very fact of your political leadership appears to revolve around the 
recurring claim that your consistent opposition to even the present governments— 
which are in fact endeavoring to gain your support— is rooted in an attempt by you 
and your Movement to avoid assuming responsibility in the State. Does this 
argument have any basis in fact? 

Answer: No! The fact that our opponents can still afford to make claims of 
that type is only conceivable as a result of the lack of political training on the 
one hand and the unfathomable forgetfullness of our intellectual classes in 
particular on the other. In point of fact, my demand was none other than the 
transfer of personal responsibility to the NSDAP. However, this naturally 
requires that the Party then be given the leadership it deserves. To expect me to 
assume responsibility for what others do is simply ridiculous. The present 
powers-that-be would never have dared to set a trap like this for the Social 
Democrats, for instance, and we will show and educate these gentlemen that we 
too are to be treated decently. Incidentally, I made a simple but straightforward 
proposal to the Reich President in November for solving the German crisis. If, 
at that time, the Reich President believed — thanks to the advice of those around 
him — that he could not answer for giving me the responsibility, then today these 
men are also responsible for the sad consequences and all the misery which must 
be suffered by the German Volk due to this refusal. 

Question: Is the oppositional press correct in claiming that you, Herr Hitler, have 
sought contact with Herr von Papen? What is your position particularly in response 
to the claim that you had attempted to establish a connection via Herr von Papen to 
the powers in heavy industry allegedly backing him? 

Answer: It is obvious that I have not attempted to establish contact with 
Herr von Papen. But it is equally obvious that I do not allow anyone to dictate 
with whom I may speak or not speak. I am a politician and shall, if I regard it as 
expedient, have any talks I choose. I have no intention of letting the rags of any 
Reich Chancellor who happens to be in office tell me what to do. Germany's 
heavy industry is a part of the German economy. For that reason I do not need 
to make "contact" with it any more than with any other economic group. And 
when a politician like myself has to reckon with all existing factors, he cannot 
simply charm them away. However, if ever I feel the need in future to take up 
special contact with any economic group, I certainly do not require a special 
advocate. National Socialism is also a factor whose existence cannot be ignored. 
All that gossip and overblown fuss in the press because of the Cologne talks is 
merely the product of a guilty conscience and the fear resulting from it. 

Question: How do you rate the chances for success of the program providing 
work for the unemployed (Arbeitsbeschaffungsprogramm) developed by Schleicher's 
government, the implementation provisions of which have now been disclosed? 

Answer: Such programs do not exist for their own sake. Thus I refrain from 
any judgments on those types of problems and will rather judge only their 
effects on the German economic crisis in general. But the measures taken by 
Schleicher's cabinet will not eliminate this crisis. 

216 



January 9, 1933 

On January 9, Hitler delivered another campaign speech in Lage 
(Lippe) 29 and then drove to Berlin. The official reason was cited as a visit 
to the new office buildings of the Volkischer Beobachter, the paper had 
been appearing in Berlin as well since January 1 (Berlin and Northern 
Germany editions). In reality, however, Hitler's presence in Berlin was 
designed to document once more that he was at the very threshold of 
power, and it did in fact provoke a great deal of gossip. Schleicher's 
uncertainty increased daily. 

On the return trip from Berlin to the Lippe election campaign, 
Hitler gave another interview with Otto Dietrich: 30 

Question: Tbe gutter press in Berlin has been circulating new rumors by the hour 
regarding your temporary stay in Berlin. Now that your alleged visit with the Reich 
Chancellor as the reason for your visit has been proven a mere invention of this same 
press, the papers are now fabricating stories about money problems of the NSDAP, 
about a Swedish loan, for the Party negotiated in Berlin, and more of the same. What 
was the real reason for your trip to Berlin? 

Answer: My visit to Berlin had been planned for more than two weeks to 
make use of my one-day break in the Lippe election campaign. Aside from the 
talks with the Reichstagsprasident Goring and other leading party comrades, its 
main purpose was a tour of the office buildings and a visit to the editors of the 
Volkischer Beobachter. Since newspapers friendly to the present government have 
already told their readers — yesterday, to be exact — about important clandestine 
talks which supposedly took place in the evening, I will disclose the location of 
this "conference." At the time in question, I was at the opera, once more 
enjoying a marvelous performance of Verdi's La Traviata. I might also note that 
the positively hysterical preoccupation with my personal doings exhibited by a 
certain Berlin newspaper is the best indication of the real position which the 
NSDAP has, contrary to the claims made by this very press. 

Question: Who, in your opinion, are the men behind this press campaign? 
Answer: I believe that the government press office in Berlin is the source of 
this political drivel. 

Question: People with sharp ears have been writing and saying lately that you, 
Herr Hitler, are willing to drop your well-known basic demands for taking over the 
government due to "fear of a dissolution of the Reichstag and new elections." The 
reason for this is cited as the claim that the NSDAP is presently in a difficult and 
tactically unfavorable position. Do you intend to make a statement regarding this 
question? 

Answer: Jawohl. Those allegations are equally stupid and ridiculous 
inventions. I have so often explained my basic attitudes in regard to the formation 
of government in depth that the Berlin rags seem to be the only ones with 
memories short enough to have forgotten them. But it does serve to shed a 
revealing light on the position of the government. It is not the National Socialist 

217 



January 9, 1933 

Party which is in trouble, but rather Schleicher's cabinet. What I prophesied in 
November has finally come to pass. Thus there is no need for me to fear new 
elections — the Herrschaften will see for themselves on January 15 — the 
government is the one who should be anxious. At any rate, the present cabinet 
will not accomplish its goal, but I will accomplish mine. 

On January 11, Hitler gave another election speech in Lemgo 
(Lippe), noting: 31 

We will enter the government as soon as we are given both responsibility 
and leadership! And when they say to us that we will not succeed, then why is 
it that, when I visit Berlin, the entire Jewish press is as excited as if a comet had 
crashed to earth? 

The struggle goes on! We shall triumph! 

On January 12, further campaign speeches in Lipperode and Bad 
Schlangen followed. 32 

In the midst of Hitler's preparations for taking over power, the 
leader of the SA Gruppe Franken, Wilhelm Stegmann, could no longer 
wait, and announced his support for radical and illegal methods. 

Hitler addressed this party comrade, who lived in Schillingsfurst, in 
the following telegram on January 12: 33 

Because you have chosen to disregard the personal warning I gave you and 
once again gravely violated the interests of the Party, I hereby not only confirm 
your dismissal from office previously pronounced by Chief of Staff Rohm, but 
moreover strip you of your rank as further punishment. 

On January 13, Hitler published a statement against the "flood of 
lies" disseminated by the press: 34 

In the last few days, the press well-disposed toward the government of the 
Reich has systematically publicized a flood of untrue allegations about the 
NSDAP and myself. Among other things, it is alleged that current NSDAP 
party revenues do not cover current expenditures; 

that, for this reason, West German industrialists had also made an "attempt 
at negotiating" between the former Reich Chancellor Herr von Papen and 
myself; 

that I was willing to accept the political demands of the industrialists in 
exchange for money; 

that I was attempting to procure money from the government in exchange 
for pledging to tolerate Schleicher's cabinet; and that I had taken out a loan with 
a Swedish banker by the Jewish name of Markus Wallenberg of four million 
Reichsmark for myself or the NSDAP in exchange for corresponding securities 
and political promises. 

All of these allegations are completely fictitious and fabricated from 
beginning to end. 

Adolf Hitler 

218 



January 13, 1933 

On January 13, Hitler gave election speeches in Barntrup and 
Blomberg (Lippe), and on January 14 he spoke in Bad Salzuflen. 35 

The elections to the Landtag in Lippe-Detmold brought the desired 
results: compared to the election of November 6, the NSDAP fared 
better at the polls, receiving 38,000 votes to the 33,000 in November and 
thus 39.6% of the electorate. The Communists lost votes. Thus a right- 
wing government was able to to be formed. 

In spite of Lippe's insignificant size, it could not be denied that the 
NSDAP, the "brown wave," had once again swelled in proportion. The 
voters who had swayed between the NSDAP and the KPD had 
obviously once again turned to Hitler. 

Hitler's arguments to the effect that he alone could avail to build a 
dam against Bolshevism had apparently been confirmed once more in 
Lippe. 

Right-wing circles including Hindenburg were similarly impressed 
by the election results, which seemed to make a right-wing majority a 
distinct possibility in the Reich as well. 

In the following days, Hitler took pains to reinforce this impression. 
On January 15 and 16 he spoke to the SA and Gauleiter Conventions in 
Weimar, 36 interpreting the Lippe election results on January 16 with the 
following words: 

Whether one achieves triumphs or not and to what extent one achieves 
them — that is determined, given the right aims, exclusively by the will to 
triumph and the diligence and labor invested in this triumph. Lippe is proof! 

The example of Lippe was also later exploited as proof that Hitler 
would win the Second World War: he had the willpower needed to 
triumph. 

On January 18, Hitler once more met with Papen for a conference 
in Berlin. 

Hitler had planned a major demonstration for the 22nd of January 
in memory of the late Kampfhed (fight song) composer and SA 
Sturmftihrer Horst Wessel, which was to impress upon the Reich capital 
that his fighting formations, the SA and the SS, were so strong and fear- 
inspiring that they could march unhindered through the 'red' quarters 
of Berlin, past the Karl Liebknecht Haus (the Communist headquarters) 
and across the Biilowplatz. 

Everything went according to schedule. There were no serious 
disruptions to the rank and file of the 35,000 SA men marching through 
the streets. Following the parade, a memorial ceremony was held at Horst 

219 



January 22, 1933 

Wessel's grave at the Nikolai Cemetery, where Hitler made the 
following remarks: 37 

Every Volk which struggles to the fore from utter misery and defeat to 
cleanse and liberate itself also produces vocalists who are able to put into words 
what the masses bear in their innermost hearts. It is thus that the powerful 
Volksbewegung, the Movement of Germany, has also found the voice able to 
express what the men in rank feel. With his song, which is sung by millions 
today, Horst Wessel has erected a monument to himself in ongoing history 
which shall prevail longer than stone and bronze. 

Even after centuries have passed, even when not a stone is left standing in 
this great city of Berlin, one will be mindful of the greatest German liberation 
movement and its vocalist. 

Comrades, raise the flags. Horst Wessel, who lies under this stone, is not 
dead. Every day and every hour his spirit is with us, marching in our ranks. 

At 6:30 p.m. on the same day, January 22, Hitler spoke before 
capacity crowds at the Berlin Sportpalast, delivering an address to the 
party officials (Amtswalters). 

In a certain sense this speech warrants special note, for Hitler had 
also scheduled a private conference for the evening of January 22 with 
the son of the Reich President, Colonel Oskar von Hindenburg. 38 

For this reason, Hitler consciously created the impression at the 
Sportpalast that he had already assumed office and was drawing up plans 
for the first measures to be instituted. He characterized himself as 
nothing less than the man who had succeeded in perfecting the time- 
honored concept of the Prussian Land. At the same time, he did not 
hesitate to concede that even he could err and make mistakes. However, 
it was to be the last time he made such an admission in public. He stated 
in part as follows: 39 

Today we see more clearly perhaps than ever before the necessity of the 
existence of the Party and the National Socialist Movement which has become 
an integral part of German history. When descent, tradition and conceit rip 
human beings apart, a political will must somehow reunite them. 

The accomplishments of this Movement to date consist of no more than 
what Prussia did long ago after the decline of the old German Empire: to 
counter the fragmentation of life in Germany in myriad groups, associations, 
and parties once more with one great unified will of the nation. 

This mission of establishing a new platform, upon which every German 
who has the will to devote himself to his Volk may tread, has been assigned to 
our Movement and, in fourteen years of struggle, it has already been 
accomplished to a large extent, and we shall finish it. 

It is our great goal to build a foundation guaranteeing the life of our Volk 
for many centuries to come. 

220 



January 22, 1933 

An immense project which we must accomplish on our own, an immense 
task, for our structure must be a structure for the centuries. Anything great 
requires struggle, and the path to freedom is a path of struggle. Resistance is 
there to be broken. 

One can steel one's own strength only by combatting the opposition's 
resistance, and it is only in overcoming this resistance that the justification for 
our final victory lies. It is essential that our government establish a regiment 
deeply rooted in the Volk itself and not floating in the clouds and forging plans 
which can never become reality. 

Only when the unity between leadership and following has been 
reestablished and has evoked the power which lies deeply rooted in the volkisch 
soil, will a regiment be capable of performing great tasks. 

But when one is fighting such a heroic battle for the inner uplifting of a 
Volk, then a steadfastness is required in the face of all those who, blinded by the 
questions of the day, believe they can find another way which is easier and leads 
more quickly to success. 

We should not be led to believe that tactical dodges can replace principles. 
Steadfastness — that is primarily the job of the leaders; particularly at crucial 
moments, it is the leaders who must personify the conscience of the nation, its 
past and its future. 

They must not then give way, not be cowardly nor stoop to motivate their 
cowardice with empty words. At moments such as these, the leaders must force 
themselves to make a heroic decision and break the neck of defeatism. 

However, when an organization chooses to perform the most difficult tasks, 
it must make certain that the will of the Volk is expressed in a single voice. A 
movement can only feel itself called upon to accomplish the greatest of things 
when it inscribes above its door the words: 40 

Party comrades, national comrades, when you enter here, you must fuse 
your will with the will of millions of others, then you must merge with this 
great will. You must become a man and entrust yourself to a leader. 

Even I can err and make mistakes, but the decisive point is who has the 
fewest errors to show in the end. I have chosen this task because I would never 
in my life have been capable of choosing anything else and never will choose 
anything else, because it is natural for me that this is my life's work, and with it 
I either rise or fall. 

I will never burden my party comrades with any labor or sacrifice which I 
would not be willing to shoulder myself, if necessary, be it a prison sentence or 
be it life itself. 

In all probability, these were the same reflections which Hitler 
presented to Colonel von Hindenburg on the evening of January 22. It 
is likely that he also pledged his eternal gratitude to the Hindenburg line 
should the Old Gentleman appoint him Chancellor. And in view of the 
so-called Osthilfe scandal, 41 this was doubtless important. But Hitler 
would hardly have proceeded so blatantly that one could accuse him of 
using "a mixture of bribes and blackmail." 42 

221 



January 22, 1933 

The two men conferred alone at the residence of Joachim von 
Ribbentrop 43 in Berlin-Dahlem. Hindenburg's State Secretary, Dr. Otto 
Meissner, was also invited, and Goring imparted to him highly 
confidential information concerning the planned government of the 
national front. The National Socialists demanded the office of 
Chancellor, the Reich Ministry of the Interior (for Frick), and a further 
ministerial post (for Goring). 

The other right-wing parties were to be given access to all of the 
other ministries, and respective appointments were to be made by the 
Reich President. It is incomprehensible why the State Secretary 
suddenly found the demands of the National Socialists "moderate" and 
judged them to be a "concession." 44 The Nazis wanted the most 
significant and powerful ministries, and Hitler's demands had not 
changed from those of November and August of 1932. 

After the speeches and conferences on January 22, Hitler could 
afford to sit back and watch the situation develop. On January 23, he 
held another conference with Schacht at the Kaiserhof Hotel and 
delivered a two-hour address on the present political situation to the 
leaders of the Berlin SA and SS. 45 

In the evening he stepped to the podium before a conference of 
Amtswalters in Frankfurt an der Oder (Schutzenhaussaal) and 
declared: 46 

The rootlessness and disunity of the present government's economic policy 
is only a reflection of its own ideological rootlessness and disunity. What I am 
accusing them of is the fact that their actions are so perfectly unsystematic and 
haphazard. 

We have the Volk behind us, but they are backed merely by their own 
conceit. Wiping out centuries of rotten tradition and prejudice is a larger task 
than forming a new government. The mission which Providence has assigned to 
the National Socialist Movement is that of elevating Germany once more. 

If we once again succeed in making Germans out of proletarians and the 
bourgeoisie, then Germany's future is secure. And if, in light of this goal, I judge 
a certain government to be fitting, then I will create this government, and no 
other! I do not believe in advances! It has to be an honest game in which we give 
the others our strength and, in exchange, they give us the corresponding power. 

When people tell me that we would have risen to power in three months at 
any rate [albeit without holding the Chancellorship in the government], then I 
answer: then I would rather wait these three months. Have no illusions about 
the ironclad structure of our Party. 

I know that the army of 100,000 under my leaders is as loyal to me as I am 
loyal to the Movement. 

222 



January 23, 1933 

This Movement possesses perseverance, steadfastness, straightforwardness, 
determination, and boldness. We have once again taken our flag in our fist to 
continue the struggle with more energy than before on the way to the Endsieg. 

Schleicher's downfall could only be a matter of days. With the votes 
of the National Socialists, the Center and the Bavarian People's Party, 
the Reichstag Council of Elders (Altestenrat) resolved on January 20 to 
convene the Reichstag on January 31. This date— at the latest— marked 
Schleicher's downfall, for a vote of no confidence was a certainty. 
Schleicher was aware of this, particularly as the German Nationalists 
had declared their opposition to him on January 21. Thus he attempted, 
on January 23 and 28, to procure an order of dissolution from 
Hindenburg. His efforts were to no avail. 

Events took the course which had been predetermined for weeks: 
faced with Hindenburg's stance, Schleicher was forced to announce his 
resignation on January 28. Hindenburg instructed von Papen to clarify 
the political situation. That Sunday (January 29) was spent in compiling 
a new list of ministers. 

The rumor that Schleicher had planned a putsch using the Potsdam 
garrison to march against the Wilhelmstrasse 47 served to accelerate the 
formation of a new government and to summon Lieutenant General 
Werner von Blomberg, Commander of Military District (Wehrkreis) I in 
East Prussia and delegate at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva, as 
the new Reich Minister of Defense to report to Berlin immediately. He 
was sworn in even before the other cabinet members on January 30. 48 

Hitler's demands regarding cabinet membership were met. 
Hindenburg declared his confidence in Hitler on the morning of 
January 30. There was only one hurdle yet to be overcome: the new 
Reichstag elections, for which he required Hugenberg's consent. Hitler 
was determined to insist on this point, even at the expense of losing the 
entire government formation. Hugenberg knew what a new election 
would mean: it would give Hitler the decisive — if not absolute — majority 
and make him independent of the Reich President. In the presence of 
the entire staff of ministers, Hitler addressed Hugenberg at length and 
gave his word that this cabinet would remain together for all time. 
Hitler kept the Reich President waiting twenty minutes beyond the 
time scheduled for swearing in the cabinet. Finally, under pressure from 
von Papen as well, Hugenberg succumbed. 49 Hitler had prevailed. 

Now that the worst was over, Hindenburg's blessing could be 
obtained. After Hitler, all of the other ministers swore the prescribed 

223 



January 30, 1933 

oath. Subsequently, the new Reich Chancellor made a short speech to 
Hindenburg regarding the national aims of the cabinet and his intention 
to reestablish normal procedures of parliamentary government. 50 
The public was officially notified as follows: 51 

The Reich President has designated Herr Adolf Hitler as Reich Chancellor 
and made the following new appointments to the Government upon his request: 

Former Reich Chancellor von Papen as Vice Chancellor and Reich Commissar 
for the Land of Prussia; 

Freiherr von Neurath as Reich Foreign Minister; 

Former Minister of State and Member of the Reichstag Dr. Wilhelm Frick as 
Reich Minister of the Interior; 

Lieutenant General Freiherr von Blomberg as Reich Minister of Defense; 

Graf Schwerin von Krosigk as Reich Minister of Finance; 

Privy Finance Councillor and Member of the Reichstag Alfred Hugenberg as 
Reich Minister of Economy and for Food and Agriculture; 

Franz Seldte as Reich Minister of Labor; 

Freiherr von Eltz-Rubenach as Reich Minister of Postal Services and Reich 
Minister of Transportation; 

President of the Reichstag Goring as Reich Minister without portfolio and Reich 
Commissar for Air Traffic; 

Reich Minister Goring was appointed Prussian Minister of the Interior; 

Reich Commissar for Programs for the Unemployed Gereke has retained his 
post; 

Appointment to the Reich Ministry of justice remained subject to alteration. 

The Reich Chancellor took up negotiations on Monday with the Center and the 
Bavarian People's Party. 

The first cabinet meeting took place at 5:00 p.m. that afternoon. 

Hitler had made a smart move in appointing National Socialist 
Walther Funk 52 as Press Chief of the Reich Government on January 30, 
1933. Funk was a native of East Prussia and had been editor-in-chief of 
the conservative Berliner Borsenzeitung for ten years. He was well 
acquainted and on familiar terms with Reich President von Hindenburg. 
As Press Chief of the Reich Government, it became his appointed duty 
to report to the Reich President on the current political situation. 
Funk's words carried just as much if not more weight than von Papen's 
with Hindenburg. 

Much has been said and written concerning the cabinet Hitler 
formed on January 30, 1933 and its constitutionality. Even today, there 

224 



January 30, 1933 

is little consensus regarding this government, and the views range from 
its characterization as a "coalition cabinet," a "duumvirate" and a "presi- 
dential cabinet." 

However, contemporaries' impressions of what Hitler's cabinet was 
or may have been are less important than the actual constitutional 
character of this body. 

The government was by no means a coalition government in the 
parliamentary sense of the word. The National Socialists, the German 
Nationalists and the Stahlhelm had indeed united to form a 
"government of national concentration" or, respectively, of "national 
uprising," as it was officially termed. 53 However, only the National 
Socialists and German Nationalists — not the Stahlhelm — were 
represented in parliament as parties. In the Reichstag elected on 
November 6, 1932, the National Socialists and the German Nationalists 
did not have the absolute majority required for a parliamentary 
coalition government. 

A duumvirate, i.e. a government in which two men, in this case the 
Reich Chancellor and the "Vice Chancellor," would both exercise the 
same powers, was a constitutional impossibility. Article 56 of the 
Weimar Constitution provided that the Reich Chancellor alone was to 
determine the principles of policy. 

The cabinet formed on January 30, 1933 was, in essence, a 
presidential cabinet 54 in the truest sense of the term. 

From the very first hour, Hitler had enjoyed the confidence of the 
Reich President, as any presidential chancellor must. As early as 
November 1932, he had made it clear that he would only assume the 
post of Chancellor if given the President's vote of confidence and the 
same powers granted to Briining and von Papen. 55 He would never have 
been willing to enter the government on January 30, 1933 unless these 
conditions had been met. 

What are the characteristics of a presidential cabinet? The laws were 
not promulgated by the Reichstag, but rather took effect by means of 
"emergency decrees" issued by the Reich President pursuant to Article 48 
of the Weimar Constitution and counter-signed by the Reich Chancellor 
and the respective departmental minister. This is indisputably a mark of 
the cabinet Hitler formed on January 30, 1933. One look at the 
Reichsgesetzblatt of 1933, Part I, shows that dozens of laws of all types 
were promulgated between January 30 and the enactment of the Enabling 
Law on March 24, 1933 by emergency decree of the Reich President, 
counter-signed by Chancellor Hitler and the respective departmental 
minister. Even after the Enabling Act had been passed, laws 

225 



January 30, 1933 

were enacted — for the last time on March 30, 1933 56 — with the aid of 
such emergency decrees. 

On a parliamentary basis, Hitler could have become Chancellor as 
early as November 1932. At that time, Hindenburg had been willing to 
assign him the task of forming a government, for Hitler headed the 
largest party in the Reichstag. Hitler refused, however, because every 
single law would have had to be approved by parliament. Moreover, he 
would have become dependent upon the Center Party. 

Hitler was to attempt to convince the Reichstag to tolerate the 
cabinet he had formed on January 30. In essence, however, this demand 
constituted a normal condition to which every head of a presidential 
cabinet had been subjected (Briining, Papen, and Schleicher). Each of his 
predecessors had initially regarded such a toleration as possible but then 
failed nonetheless due to lack of parliamentary support. 

Hitler was the first presidential chancellor who immediately took up 
the task of obtaining a majority in parliament. Although he had the 
confidence of the Reich President, he knew from the experience of his 
predecessors that this could change quickly. Under the circumstances 
prevailing at the time, he could have achieved parliamentary support or 
toleration by the Center and the Bavarian People's Party, but he 
regarded this as too unstable, considering that the support of the Center 
would doubtlessly be short-lived. 

Hitler wanted to be absolutely certain: in spite of Hugenberg's 
initial resistance and by ignoring the Center's willingness to negotiate, 
he forced new Reichstag elections. What had been denied Schleicher, i.e. 
the dissolution of the Reichstag, was granted the Reich President's new 
intimate friend, the presidential chancellor Adolf Hitler. 

Hitler knew the Weimar Constitution better than his co-players and 
adversaries. Thus there was no need for him to make good his publicly 
declared intention of stepping down from the government controls. 

Von Papen's position in the new cabinet was just as insignificant as the 
Constitution had intended it to be. The Weimar Constitution did not 
provide for a "vice chancellor" wielding any significant influence, but 
rather merely for a "deputy chancellor," who only had any real function 
when the Chancellor was incapacitated by illness or absent. The post was 
usually filled by the senior minister or one of the other ministers in the 
cabinet. But even then, political leadership was the responsibility of the 
Reich Chancellor. Only in the summer of 1932, when the question of 
allowing the National Socialists to participate in Reich Government 
arose, did von Papen conceive of instituting a ministerial post solely for 

226 



January 30, 1933 

the office of "vice chancellor," the holder of which would exercise no 
significant influence in the ongoing process of government, but who 
would, at least, bear a decorative title. 

It is the irony of fate that von Papen of all people, the one who had 
wanted to shelve Hitler in the powerless position of vice chancellor in 
1932, was now allotted this position under Hitler. 

Von Papen had the strictly constitutional role of "deputy 
chancellor" and was allowed, during Hitler's few absences from January 
31 to March 30, 1933, to counter-sign a number of the Reich President's 
emergency decrees. His alleged right to be present at every report made 
by the Chancellor to the President was, if at all anchored in writing, 
without any constitutional significance whatsoever. 

Hitler was in no way obligated to take von Papen with him every 
time he visited the Reich President. The Weimar Constitution did not 
provide that the Reich Chancellor required a nursemaid; this would, of 
course, have been ridiculous. In any case, von Papen seems to have made 
little use of his purported "right" to be present at Hitler's reports. In 
view of his enthusiasm for Hitler, at least in the first few months 
following the Machtergreifung, he most probably would not have dared 
to interrupt Hitler, much less attempted to influence or sway the Reich 
President in Hitler's presence. 

On January 30, von Papen was also appointed Reich Commissar for 
Prussia; this position, however, was surrounded by controversy. 

By virtue of the coup of July 20, 1932, the lawful authority of Braun, 
the Minister-President of Prussia, had been sharply curbed. The 
Constitutional Court (Staatsgerichtshoj) had reversed a number of these 
measures in its judgment of October 25; a further trial was still pending. 
In essence, the Reich Commissar's functions were limited to the 
Prussian police, and these happened to be the same functions which 
were to be exercised by Goring according to the minister list of January 
30. Thus von Papen had little say in Prussia and Hitler, by dissolving the 
Prussian Landtag by force, ultimately secured that Goring, and not von 
Papen, was given the post of Minister-President in Prussia. 57 

No amount of quibbling about the nature of the cabinet formed on 
January 30, 1933 can change the fact that Hitler was given the decisive 
position of power, namely the leadership of the Reich Government, a 
position for which he had fought nearly fourteen years. Hitler and all of 
his followers were convinced from the first day that the Third Reich had 
come into being on January 30, 1933. 

227 



January 30, 1933 

On this very first day, January 30, Hitler issued the following 
proclamation: 58 

National Socialists! My Party Comrades! 

A fourteen-year-long struggle, unparalleled in German history, has now 
culminated in a great political triumph. 

The Reich President von Hindenburg has appointed me, the Fiihrer of the 
National Socialist Movement, as Chancellor of the German Reich. 

National leagues and parties have united in a joint fight for the resurrection 
of Germany. 

The honor witnessed by German history of now being able to take a leading 
part in fulfilling this task I owe, next to the generous resolve of the Field 
Marshal, to your loyalty and devotion, my party comrades. 

You followed me on cloudy days as unerringly as in the days of good 
fortune and remained true even after the most crushing defeats, and it is to that 
fact alone we owe this success. 

Enormous is the task which lies before us. We must accomplish it, and we 
shall accomplish it. 

Of you, my party comrades, I have only one major request: give me your 
confidence and your devotion in this new and great struggle, just as in the past, 
then the Almighty as well will not deny us His blessings toward reestablishing 
a German Reich of honor, freedom and domestic peace. 

Berlin, January 30, 1933 Adolf Hitler 

The news of Hitler's appointment as Reich Chancellor evoked a 
positive ecstasy of joy among the many millions of National Socialists 
throughout Germany on the afternoon and evening of January 30. For 
three and a half hours, SA, SS and Stahlhelm formations in Berlin 
marched through the Wilhelmstrasse by torchlight, passing Hindenburg 
and Hitler, who waved and watched the hundreds of thousands of men 
filing by from the windows of their chambers. 

Not only Berlin, but every major German city staged a similar 
spectacle. For millions of Germans, a better age seemed to be dawning. 
For long years they had hoped for this day and so often, apparently so 
close to their goal, been disappointed. Now that their Fiihrer had seized 
power, there would be an end to all want. 

It should be noted here that, of the millions of Hitler's adherents, a 
substantial number were idealists. They actually believed Hitler when he 
stated that Marxist parties were to blame for the entire economic 
misfortune which gripped the country. They were of the firm conviction 
that, in serving in the SA and other party organizations, they were serving 
their Vaterland. Many of Hitler's followers in this period had for years 
made sacrifices for their ideas; they had suffered oppression, 

228 



January 30, 1933 

professional setbacks and dismissals, and had often risked their lives for 
the national goals Hitler supposedly advocated. Even granted a certain 
amount of exaggeration in the statistics of the party press, a good 
number did in fact sacrifice life and property and served sentences as 
political prisoners. There were, of course, disreputable elements among 
the ranks of the National Socialists prior to 1933 and those who used 
violence after the Machtergreifung. They were unable to withstand the 
temptation which lurks wherever power is exercised. 

However, the bulk consisted of idealists who had been blinded by 
Hitler's nationalistic speeches, and they were most disappointed and 
affected by his unrestrained politics of power and war. They had 
followed Hitler in trusting confidence, but he exploited them 
ignominiously. 

There were still a few credulous believers among those who became 
members of the Party between January 31 and April 30, 1933, but there 
were also many opportunists— called the Marzgefallene— who were 
maneuvering for positions. Those who joined after the four-year 
membership ban had been lifted in 1937 did so either out of fear that 
their careers might suffer or because they were unable to comprehend 
the developments which had, by that time, taken on a quite distinct 
shape. 

The men of the SA and NSKK had the least advantages, for, from 
1934 onwards, they regarded their service as a national duty or rather as 
a reserve duty training exercise; at the same time, they neither solicited 
nor were given much public recognition. The SS, however, evolved to 
become an exclusive organization which Hitler reserved for his secret 
goals. 



229 



January 31, 1933 



Typically enough, the first declaration Hitler drew up as new Reich 
Chancellor and responsible leader of German politics at home and 
abroad was addressed to Austria. On January 31, he sent the following 
telegram to the Austrian Chancellor, Engelbert Dollfuss: 59 

Called upon by the Reich President to head the German Government, I 
hasten to convey to you, Mr. Chancellor, my warmest wishes for the welfare of 
our German brothers in Austria. 

Dollfuss replied the same day: 

May I, Herr Reichskanzler, respectfully request that you accept my sincere 
thanks for the kind notification of your calling to the head of your Reich 
Government. While most warmly thanking you on behalf of Austria for the 
best wishes for our welfare, at the same time may I reciprocate with my heartfelt 
wishes for the welfare of the entire German Volk. 

Hitler's speech in Munich on "National Socialism and Art" which 
had been scheduled weeks in advance for January 31 60 now had to be 
cancelled due to his new position in Berlin. His most pressing task at the 
moment was to outwit the Centrists who were willing to take part in a 
coalition government. Had Hugenberg caused further difficulties 
because of the dissolution of the Reichstag, Hitler would have had no 
choice but to allot to the Center Party the vacant post of Minister of 
justice in exchange for a temporary toleration in the Reichstag. 

As things stood, however, Hitler's January 31 conference with 
Monsignor Ludwig Kaas, the leader of the Center Party, was a mere 
matter of form. Kaas dared to confront Hitler afterwards with a few 
questions concerning the Government's labor program, and this moved 
Hitler to promptly announce to the cabinet that it was impossible to 
reach any consensus with the Center. 

230 



February 1, 1933 

On February 1, Hindenburg signed the decree dissolving the 
Reichstag, "now that the formation of a working majority has proven 
impossible." 61 

Franz Giirtner, Minister of Justice up to that time and a longtime 
patron of Hitler, 62 was reconfirmed in office. 

However, Hitler addressed a letter to the leader of the Center Party 
in which, clothed in his convoluted style, he coupled insult and injury 
with his best wishes for close personal relations with the Prelate. 63 

Berlin, February 1, 1933 
My dear Monsignor, 

Yesterday I took note of your letter with great interest. The purpose of the 
conference was to determine whether, and under what conditions, the Center 
Party would be willing to grant the new Reich Government of National 
Concentration a working term limited to one year free of the vicissitudes of 
parliamentary obstruction. 

I felt this was necessary, for I perceive this government to be the last and 
only chance to ward off, by constitutional means, the danger of degeneration of 
the Volk and Reich. 

I believe that I understood you correctly, my dear Monsignor, in concluding 
from this conference that the Center is presently of the opinion that the current 
composition of the cabinet fails to provide a sufficiently broad base for its own 
direct participation in the Government. 

In your letter, my dear Monsignor, you pose so many extremely specific 
questions that detailed answers could only serve any purpose if and when the 
fundamental condition, i.e. whether or not one can count on this one-year-term 
for the undisturbed work of the Reich Government, is clarified in advance. 

However, this is not the case. Thus I have gathered that a respective binding 
promise or similar guarantee of the last constitutionally possible prerequisite 
today for productive work cannot be given on the part of the Center. 

Thus, at the moment, there is no need for any further discussion on the 
points which you, my dear Monsignor, have cited. A discussion of the points 
cited without the result I have requested would, in the final analysis, lead to a 
fruitless as well as — on my part — unwelcome embitterment. For nevertheless I 
dare to continue hoping even today that, if not now, then perhaps at a not too 
distant point in time an expansion of our front toward eliminating the 
impending domestic dangers in our Volk could take place. 

Due to the fact that, to my chagrin, I am therefore unable to conclude from 
your letter any clear statement on the question of a guaranteed term for the 
work of the new government which I regard as a prerequisite; and due to the fact 
that time is of the essence and I wish, before God and my conscience, to use any 
and all opportunities to make it possible that the new government can take on 
its work of saving the nation within the framework of the Constitution, I see no 
other choice but to suggest to the Reich President that he himself address one 
last appeal to the German Volk. 

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February 1, 1933 

In the hope and with the request that the personal contacts established with 
your party friend Dr. Briining and yourself, my dear Monsignor, will not be 
broken off for this reason, 

I remain yours faithfully, 

Adolf Hitler 

Late in the evening of February 1, at 10:00 p.m., Hitler spoke for the 
first time in a radio broadcast. He dressed in his dark blue suit and black 
tie, as had been his practice in 1932 on the occasion of important 
speeches. 64 

Hitler read his first proclamation as German head of government, a 
Proclamation of the Reich Government to the German Volk: 65 

More than fourteen years have passed since that ill-fated day when, blinded 
by promises at home and abroad, the German Volk lost sight of the most 
valuable assets of our past and of our Reich, its honor and its freedom, and thus 
lost everything. Since those days of treachery, the Almighty has withheld His 
blessing from our Volk. Dissension and hatred have made their way into our 
midst. In the profoundest distress, millions of the best German men and women 
from all walks of life watch as the unity of the nation vanishes and dissolves in 
a muddle of political and egotistical opinions, economic interests and differences 
in Weltanschauung. 

As so often before in our history, Germany has presented a picture of 
heartbreaking disunity since that day of revolution. We were never given the 
promised equality and fraternity, and we have lost our liberty. The 
disintegration of the unity of spirit and will of our Volk at home was followed 
by the disintegration of its political standing in the world. 

Imbued with burning conviction that the German Volk entered the great 
fight in 1914 without a thought to any guilt on its part and filled only with the 
burdensome care of having to defend the Reich from attack and preserve the 
freedom and the very existence of the German Volk, we see in the shattering fate 
which has plagued us since November 1918 merely the product of our 
disintegration at home. However, the rest of the world as well has been shaken 
no less by major crises since then. The historical balance of power, which once 
played no small part in bringing about an understanding of the necessity for 
internal solidarity of the nations, with all its positive economic consequences, 
has been done away with. 

The insane conception of victors and vanquished destroys the confidence 
between nations and with it world economy. But the misery of our Volk is 
appalling! The starving millions of unemployed proletarians in industry are 
being followed by the impoverishment of the entire Mittelstand and artisan 
professions. When this disintegration ultimately reaches the German peasants, 
we will be confronted by a catastrophe of unfathomable dimensions. For not 
only will a Reich disintegrate at the same time, but also a two-thousand-year-old 
inheritance of valuable, the most valuable assets of human culture and 
civilization. The warning signs of this approaching disintegration are all about 
us. In a single gigantic offensive of willpower and violence, the Communist 

232 



February 1, 1933 

method of madness is attempting to poison and disrupt the Volk, which is 
shaken and uprooted to its innermost core, with the aim of driving it toward an 
age which would be even worse in relation to the promises of today's 
Communist spokesmen than the period we have now left behind us in relation 
to the promises of those same apostles in November 1918. 

Beginning with the family and ranging through all of the concepts of honor 
and loyalty, Volk und Vaterland, culture and economy, all the way to the eternal 
foundation of our morality and our faith: nothing has been spared by this 
negating, all-destroying dogma. Fourteen years of Marxism have ruined 
Germany. One year of Bolshevism would destroy Germany. The richest and 
most beautiful cultural areas of the world today would be transformed into 
chaos and a heap of ruins. Even the suffering of the last decade and a half could 
not be compared to the misery of a Europe in whose heart the red flag of 
destruction had been hoisted. May the thousands of wounded, the innumerable 
dead which this war has already cost Germany serve as storm clouds warning 
against the coming tempest. 

In these hours when we were overcome by a powerful anxiety as to the 
existence and the future of the German nation, the aged leader of the World War 
appealed to us men in the national parties and leagues to fight under him once 
more as we had at the front, this time at home, in unity and loyalty for the 
salvation of the Reich. The venerable Reich President has allied himself with us 
in this noble sense, and therefore we shall vow to God, our conscience and our 
Volk as national leaders that we may resolutely and steadfastly fulfill the task 
thus conferred upon us as the National Government. 

The inheritance we have taken on is a terrible one. 

The task which we must accomplish is the most difficult ever posed to 
German statesmen within the memory of mankind. But our confidence is 
unbounded, for we believe in our Volk and in its imperishable virtues. Peasants, 
workers, and bourgeoisie must all join together to provide the building blocks 
for the new Reich. 

The National Government will therefore regard it as its first and foremost 
duty to reestablish the unity of spirit and will of our Volk. It will preserve and 
defend the foundations upon which the power of our nation rests. It will extend 
its strong, protecting hand over Christianity as the basis of our entire morality, 
and the family as the germ cell of the body of our Volk and State. It will 
reawaken in our Volk, beyond the borders of rank and class, its sense of national 
and political unity and its resultant duties. It will establish reverence for our 
great past and pride in our old traditions as the basis for the education of our 
German youth. Thus it will declare a merciless war against spiritual, political 
and cultural nihilism. Germany must not and will not drown in anarchistic 
Communism. 

It will replace turbulent instincts with national discipline as the guiding rule 
of our life. In doing so, it will devote great care to those institutions which 
constitute the true guarantors of the power and strength of our nation. 

The National Government will perform the immense task of reorganizing 
the economy of our Volk with two great four-year plans: 

Salvation of the German peasant in order to maintain the food supply and 
thus the basis of life in our nation. 

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February 1, 1933 

Salvation of the German worker in an enormous and all-embracing attack 
on unemployment. 

In fourteen years, the November parties have ruined the German peasantry. 
In fourteen years they have created an army of millions of unemployed. The 
national government will, with iron determination and unshakable persistence, 
implement the following plan: 

Within four years the German peasant must be rescued from 
impoverishment. 

Within four years unemployment must be finally overcome. 

At the same time, this will lay the groundwork for the recovery of the rest 
of the economy. 

The National Government will couple this gigantic task of reorganizing our 
economy with the task and accomplishment of reorganizing the Reich, the 
Lander, and the communities, both in administrative and fiscal terms. 

Only then will the concept of a federal preservation of the Reich become a 
full-blooded, real-life certainty. 

The concept of a compulsory labor service and the settlement policy 
number among the cornerstones of this program. 

Securing daily bread, however, also includes the performance of social duties 
for the sick and the aged. 

In an austerity administration, promoting employment, maintaining our 
peasantry, as well as exploiting individual initiative also give the best guarantee 
for avoiding any experiments which would endanger our currency. 

In terms of foreign policy, the National Government regards preserving the 
right to live and thus regaining the freedom of our Volk as its highest priority. 
By being resolute in bringing about an end to the chaotic state of affairs in 
Germany, it will assist in restoring to the community of nations a state of equal 
worth and thus, however, also a state with equal rights. The Government is 
impregnated with the immensity of the duty of advocating, together with this 
free and equal Volk, the preservation and maintenance of a peace which the 
world needs today more than ever before. 

May the understanding of all others assist us in fulfilling this, our most 
sincere wish, for the welfare of Europe, and more, for the welfare of the whole 
world. As great as is our love for our army as the bearer of our arms and the 
symbol of our great past, we would be happy if the world, by limiting its own 
armaments, would never again make it necessary for us to increase ours. 
However, if Germany is to experience this political and economic revival and 
conscientiously fulfill its obligations to the other nations, one decisive step is 
required: overcoming the Communist infiltration of Germany. 

We men of the Government feel that we are responsible to German history 
for reestablishing the great and orderly body politic and thus finally overcoming 
class madness and class struggle. It is not any one class we look to, but rather the 
German Volk, its millions of peasants, bourgeois and workers, who will 
together either overcome the problems of these times or succumb to them. 
Resolved and true to our oath, we will thus — in view of the present Reichstag's 
inability to support this work — ask the German Volk itself to take on this task 
we call our own. 

234 



February 1, 1933 

Reich President von Hindenburg has called upon us and given us the order 
to use our own unity to restore to the nation the chance for recovery. 

Thus we now appeal to the German Volk to take part in signing this deed 
of reconciliation. 

The Government of the National Uprising wants to work, and it will work. 
It was not this government which led the German nation into ruin for fourteen 
years; this government wants to lead the nation to the top once more. 

It is determined to pay the debt of fourteen years in four years. 

But it cannot make the work of reconstruction dependent upon the 
approval of those who are to blame for the collapse. 

The Marxist parties and their fellow travellers have had fourteen years to 
prove their prowess. 

The result is a heap of ruins. 

Now, German Volk, give us four years, and then pass judgment upon us! 

True to the order of the Field Marshal, we shall begin. May Almighty God 
look mercifully upon our work, lead our will on the right path, bless our 
wisdom, and reward us with the confidence of our Volk. We are not fighting for 
ourselves, but for Germany! 

This was the first time a large segment of the German public outside 
the National Socialist Movement heard and read one of Hitler's 
proclamations. 

The bourgeoisie, which had witnessed Hitler in the non-Nazi press 
to date as an uneducated ribald and proletarian agitator, was visibly 
impressed. Many Germans, however, refused to believe Hitler capable 
of such a proclamation and suspected that his advisors had written the 
text. It proved a fatal error from the very start that those in power in 
Germany failed to take accurate stock of Hitler's personality. People 
believed that he was incompetent and totally unintelligent; they 
assumed his oral and written remarks to be the work of others and 
believed him to be under the influence of certain Unterfuhrers or 
industrialists and obscure backers. 

Thus it must be stressed yet again that Hitler had no need for outside 
assistance in writing speeches and letters. He even refused to make use 
of the customary drafts of government proclamations prepared by his 
staff, but rather consistently used his own words. Since 1919 he had 
allowed no one to correct, much less influence, his preconceived ideas. 
Goebbels, Goring, Hess, Ribbentrop, Strasser, and Rohm had no 
influence whatsoever on this man, as little as did, subsequently, Raeder, 
Donitz, Blomberg, Keitel, Jodl, Brauchitsch, Rommel, or any of the 
other German generals, politicians or diplomats. Hitler was never at the 
receiving end; he was the one who influenced others. Thus it is only 
characteristic of this trait that a great number of the party leaders, 

235 



February 1, 1933 

diplomats and generals held completely different personal views of the 
problems of the day than Hitler did and that, when Hitler had spoken 
with them, they subordinated their own views and adopted his in the 
belief that Hitler's opinions were most likely the better of the two. 

It is absurd to assume that von Papen drafted the Reich Government 
proclamation of February 1, 1933. 66 One must bear in mind that Hitler 
had been doing nothing else but composing these types of proclamations 
and speeches for years. 

The proclamation of February 1 is thoroughly consistent with his 
style. 67 In any case, prestige considerations would never have allowed 
him to accept any draft other than his own. He wanted to demonstrate 
to the cabinet members from the very first that his word was now the 
only one which carried weight. 

Hitler expressed his gratitude to his party comrades for their 
congratulations in the following announcement: 68 

On the occasion of my appointment to Reich Chancellor, I have received 
countless congratulatory wishes from my party comrades. Unfortunately, I am 
not able to thank each and every one, so I may take this opportunity to express 
my warmest thanks to all of my loyal party comrades. 

Berlin, February 1, 1933 Adolf Hitler 

Subsequent to Hitler's seizure of power and the National Socialist 
celebration rallies, a number of bloody clashes occurred in Berlin and 
other areas of the Reich in which a number of National Socialists were 
killed or injured. Although Hitler welcomed these incidents, he wanted 
to delay police action against the Communists and his other adversaries 
in the hope that this might encourage them to engage in even more 
flagrant breaches of law and order. 

Thus he issued the following proclamation on February 2: 69 

Party Comrades! Men of the SA and SS! 

Thirteen years long you have followed me with a discipline seldom 
witnessed. 

The Communist murder organization has been agitating against the national 
uprising for days. 

Keep calm! Preserve order and discipline! Do not allow yourselves to be 
confused into ignoring my order by spies and provocateurs! The hour for 
crushing this terror will come. 

Adolf Hitler 

On February 2, Hitler issued a set of guidelines for the approaching 
Reichstag election campaign to the party leadership in Berlin. 70 

236 



February 2, 1933 

On the same day he introduced himself as the new Reich Chancellor 
to the Reichsrat, the representation of the German Lander, and held the 
following speech: 71 

We have taken on the task of government in perhaps the most difficult 
period in German history. It requires a strong belief not to succumb to doubt in 
such an hour, but rather to look ahead to the future with confidence and hope. 
Three factors make up our motivation: first of all, we have confidence in the 
strength and the industriousness of the German Volk; secondly, we are 
confident in the capabilities of this Volk and its ingenuity which has, 
throughout history, repeatedly found ways to survive; lastly, in spite of all the 
crises and catastrophes, we see before us German soil, German land. And if past 
generations were able, in defiance of the vicissitudes of fate, ultimately to create 
from these three sources of strength this great Reich we once witnessed, then it 
must be possible, and the new government is convinced of this, it must be 
possible for us as well to nurture this same greatness from these same roots and 
one day create it anew. 

In doing so, we do not only want to use these eternal foundations as the 
basis for our volkisch existence; we also naturally want to use all of the 
accomplishments and traditions developed in the course of recent history as our 
basis. We prefer not to see these accomplishments and traditions only in the 
isolated areas of culture or economics, but naturally in the field of our civic life 
as well. We do not want to disregard the building blocks which many centuries 
of German history have created for this Reich; on the contrary: we do not, for 
instance, want to make the mistake of regulating and centralizing everything 
which can be regulated and centralized, but rather wish to keep in mind that 
only those things are to be accomplished uniformly which are absolutely 
necessary. We would be grateful to be able to count on the assistance of the 
Lander; we do not want lip-service, we want real support; and we are determined 
to do everything possible in return, in order to maintain the viability of these 
historic building blocks of the German Reich. This will become all the more 
possible the more the Reich and the Lander join forces in the great realization 
of the urgent need of our time. I myself come from the south, am a citizen of a 
Northern German State, but I regard myself as a German and live in German 
history. I do not want to blindly ignore the great and historic deeds and 
accomplishments of this history but on the contrary, wish to respect everything 
which past generations have accomplished, including the historical formation of 
our nation, in the hope that so many more coming generations will also respect 
what it is we propose to accomplish. 

In closing, the Reich Chancellor asked the Reichsrat members for 
their cooperation in the manner required, so his words, "from all of us 
in the times of need." Hitler's noteworthy reference to the fact that he 
came from the south but was a citizen of a Northern German State 72 
admittedly did not suffice to convince the members of the Reichsrat of 
his federalistic attitude. The body he had addressed was composed, in 

237 



February 2, 1933 

the majority, of Social Democrats and members of the Center Party, for 
the old Prussian cabinet under Braun still presided and the Lander in 
southern Germany did not have right-wing governments. 

The Social Democrat and Ministerial Director Arnold Brecht thus 
replied to Hitler's speech in his capacity as the deputy of Prussia and felt 
obliged to remind the Chancellor to adhere to the Constitution, to 
demand that a constitutional government be reestablished in Prussia, 
and to lecture Hitler on the causes of unemployment. 

Hitler chose not to make any further comment and actually offered 
his hand when taking his leave from the Social Democrats; inwardly, he 
was seething and vowed to do away with this Reichsrat as soon as 
possible. The Volkischer Beobachter commented on the session with the 
headline: "Brecht tries to teach Hitler a lesson!" 73 

To change the composition of the Reichsrat, new elections to the 
Prussian Landtag were required; this would enable a right-wing 
government to take power. Hitler regarded this reelection as a necessity 
at any rate due to von Papen's post as Reich Commissar. 

As early as February 2, the National Socialists in the Prussian 
Landtag had, according to Hitler's instructions, introduced a motion for 
the dissolution of the Parliament. The motion did not pass, for the 
Center naturally felt no urge to relinquish its own key position in this 
Parliament. 

The same reasons caused the failure of another attempt on Hitler's 
part to make progress in Prussia. The Prussian Constitution provided 
that a Landtag could be dissolved by a majority resolution of a so-called 
"triumvirate" composed of the Minister-President (Braun, SPD), the 
President of the Landtag (Kerrl, NSDAP), and the President of the 
Staatsrat made up of deputies from the Prussian provinces. This last 
office was held by the Mayor of the City of Cologne at that time, 
Konrad Adenauer (Center Party), who naturally voted with Braun to 
defeat the National Socialist Kerrl and quash the dissolution. Force was 
the last and only resort. By means of the decree of the Reich President 
toward "Restoring order to the Government in Prussia" of February 6 74 
which not only constituted a violation of the Constitutions of both the 
Reich and Prussia, but also contravened the judgment of the 
Constitutional Court of October 25, 1932, Minister-President Braun 
was divested of any authority he still exercised and this authority 
transferred to Reich Commissar von Papen. 

In this case Hitler was gladly willing to step back and allow Papen 
to sign the notorious decree as "deputy to the Reich Chancellor." If ever 
the matter were taken before the Constitutional Court, which was, after 

238 



February 2, 1933 

all, a possibility, then Hitler would doubtlessly have dumped the 
responsibility on Papen. Although Braun did in fact file suit with the 
Constitutional Court, proceedings were delayed until the elections on 
March 5, and Braun's emigration that same day completely changed the 
constellation. Together with Kerrl, von Papen dissolved the Prussian 
Landtag. It was the only significant act he accomplished as Reich 
Commissar for the Land of Prussia in the months from February to April. 

But the necessities of domestic policy had not distracted Hitler from 
his long-term military and foreign policy aims. In order to reach these 
goals — i.e. acquiring new territories in the East, establishing a Greater 
German Reich and eliminating France by entering into alliances with 
England and Italy— he most of all required the aid of the Reichswehr. 

On February 3, Hitler made a speech to the Commanders of the 
Army and the Navy at the Berlin apartment of the Chief of Army 
Command, Infantry General von Hammerstein-Equord, in which he 
outlined his general principles. The Volkischer Beobachter published the 
following report of this event: 75 

On the occasion of an invitation from the newly appointed Minister of 
Defense, Werner von Blomberg, Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler took the 
opportunity to speak to a major gathering of the highest-ranking Reichswehr 
officers on the subject of his political aims. Reich Minister of Defense von 
Blomberg had convened all of the high-ranking generals and representatives of 
the Navy to this first official contact between the Reichskanzler and the 
Wehrmacht Command. The Reichskanzler gave a detailed speech on the 
political situation and the coming developments in Germany which the new 
Reich Government proposes to bring about. 

This meeting is particularly important in light of the new chapter in politics 
opened on January 30. It demonstrated the close ties between the policy of the 
new government and the duties of the Wehrmacht, whose key role in preserving 
the external security of the German Volk will, under the new government, play 
a more manifest role than hitherto. 

Hitler's remarks were reported only in summary form, but their 
substance was quickly disseminated by those who had heard the speech. 
No obligation to maintain secrecy had been imposed. 76 

On February 3, Hitler told the Reichswehr generals, as he often did 
subsequently, that the Army would remain the sole bearer of arms in the 
Reich; that he by no means envisioned fusing the Army with party 
formations such as had been done in Italy by the Fascist Militia. The will 
to fight had to be reinforced with all available means, while Marxist and 
pacifist views were to be exterminated. Hitler's primary aim was to repeal 
the Treaty of Versailles and its restrictions on the German military. 

239 



February 3, 1933 

He also declared that he would invest every penny he could spare in the 
Army. 

No German head of government after 1918 had made the 
Reichswehr such an attractive proposition. Thus it comes as no surprise 
that even those officers who had viewed Hitler with skepsis hitherto 
were enthusiastic about his views and suppressed any misgivings they 
might have had. 

The promises Hitler made to the Generals in the first few days 
following his seizure of power were, in fact, put into practice step by 
step: the elimination of all restrictions imposed by the Treaty of 
Versailles; the reintroduction of general conscription; the reinstatement 
of the General Staff; a new Air Force; battleships for the Navy; heavy 
artillery and tanks for the Army; and the elimination of any and all 
limitations on military spending imposed by national or international 
authorities. 

When Hitler later granted promotions and freely distributed 
decorations and money, he succeeded in creating among the Generals 
devoted paladins who were even willing to tolerate patiently the former 
corporal's unjust accusations, rude insults and schoolmasterly 
reprimands without a word of contradiction. 

Hitler required not only the support of the Reichswehr, but backing 
from England and Italy as well. On the same day he spoke to the 
German Generals — February 3 — he therefore granted a number of 
interviews with English, American and Italian journalists. 

Here his remarks were naturally more cautious. He demanded that 
he first be given four years' time; only then could a balance be drawn on 
the work he and his government had accomplished. With the air of an 
honest man he proclaimed that no one wanted peace more than he 
himself and the German Volk. 

The first journalist ushered in was the representative of the Giornale 
d'ltalia, which published the interview in an evening edition that same 
day 77 In the interview, Hitler stressed the necessity of friendly relations 
between Germany and Italy. 

Italy as well demands recognition of its right of existence. For this reason, 
both nations are, from their very natures, in the same position and striving for 
the same goals. Thus it is that much easier to come to a consensus regarding the 
solution of the major questions concerning both peoples. Everything will be 
done from the German side which is requisite toward bringing about such 
agreement. 

Hitler closed by hailing the Italian nation, to whose ideals his own 
were, as he stated, closely related. 

240 



February 3, 1933 

The subject matter of the press conference held with representatives 
of the English and American Press was summarized in an interview with 
the Associated Press. 78 

First of all, the Chancellor pointed out that the leftist parties had had a 
completely unrestricted hand for fourteen years. 

"Just look at the outcome today," he exclaimed to us. "Give us four years, 
the constitutional term for a Reichstag, and then let the country pass judgment 
on us." 

In reply to a request for an explanation of the Government's Four Year 
Plan, Reich Chancellor Hitler stated: "I am glad that you have asked this 
question. Had I wanted to deliver a propaganda speech for my party, I would 
have been able to guarantee that unemployment will disappear by March 15 and 
that agriculture will be restored to its former position by May 1. However, I am 
more honest than most of my opponents are and have therefore made no such 
promises. It is impossible to set the ship of government on the right course so 
quickly. That requires time. Four years is all I ask." 

The Chancellor added with a smile: "Don't forget that I am persistent, I 
have strong nerves. Were I not filled with determination, I would not be 
standing here before you today." 

Following this short conference, a number of correspondents from 
the English and American press were received, to whom the Chancellor 
declared: 

I hope that the world is aware of what is happening in Germany. There can 
be no compromise here. Either the red flag of Bolshevism will be planted before 
long, or Germany will find its way back to its own. I appeal to the world press 
not to pass premature judgment on the events happening now. I ask that you 
judge the new government on the basis of its accomplishments and regard these 
accomplishments as a whole and not pick them apart into isolated fragments. 

The Chancellor added special emphasis to these remarks and 
continued in a louder voice: 

I have been described as a man who holds bloodthirsty, inflammatory 
speeches against foreign states, and the world is now astounded at my 
moderation. Gentlemen, I have never held an inflammatory speech. On the 
contrary: my speeches, even those I held ten or twelve years ago, testify to this. 
Anyone who, like myself, knows war also knows how much energy war 
consumes. One can only surmise what a future war might bring. Thus no one 
wants peace more than I do, more than the German Volk does. However, we 
must insist that we are given rights equal to those of the other nations and are 
allowed to take our fitting place in the world, just as any American would 
demand the same for his own country. I cannot imagine that any other patriot 
would think differently regarding his country than we do regarding ours. 
Naturally my own interest lies with Germany. 

241 



February 5, 1933 

On February 5, Hitler — attired in his brown shirt — attended a 
funeral service for SA Sturmfiihrer Maikowski and Senior Police Officer 
Zauritz in the Berlin Cathedral. Both men had been shot in political 
riots following the torchlight procession of January 30. 

Afterwards he flew to Munich and, upon his arrival, issued the 
following announcement: 79 

Munich, February 5 
The Reich Press Office of the NSDAP announces as follows: 
Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler landed in Munich at nightfall on a flight 
from Berlin. The Fiihrer is visiting Munich primarily for personal reasons, and, 
in addition, to prepare the election to the Reichstag. As is known, the leadership 
of the National Socialist Movement will also remain in Munich in future. Adolf 
Hitler, who also has an extraordinary personal attachment to Munich, will 
maintain his actual residence here. 80 

Incidentally, the Fiihrer receives no salary as Reich Chancellor; due to the 
fact that he earns his own income as a writer, he has waived claim to his salary 
as Reich Chancellor. 

Hitler had announced his intention of waiving his salary claim prior 
to his seizure of power. 81 Given German bureaucracy, it proved quite 
difficult, as it had the year before in Brunswick, to reroute the money 
for other purposes. 

One interview which Hitler gave to the reporter from the Daily 
Mail, Colonel Etherton, met with disapproval upon its publication; 
Hitler thereupon had the following "authentic text" published in the 
Volkischer Beobachter} 2 

Berlin, February 13 
On February 6, the Reich Chancellor granted an interview to the English 
Colonel Etherton, who was acting as a representative of the Daily Mail and other 
associated organs of the press. 

However, the interview which had been given to Colonel Etherton in 
writing after the conference was not published in the Daily Mail on February 12, 
but in the Sunday Express, in a completely distorted version containing arbitrary 
changes and additions, which had neither been brought to the attention nor 
received the approval of the competent German authorities. Evidently, the 
writer used fragments from a former interview and falsely attributed other 
remarks to the Reich Chancellor. 

We hereby publish the text of the interview, which began with Colonel 
Etherton's question to the Reich Chancellor as to his views on disarmament. 
The Reichskanzler: "Every German Government is naturally of the opinion 
that disarmament is worth striving for with all our might — not some kind of 
disarmament bogged down in restrictive clauses, but rather an honest and 
forthright one. 

242 



February 5, 1933 

"The solution of this difficult problem depends mainly upon how the 
Anglo-Saxon peoples, i.e. the British and the Americans, view this question and 
how much they really plan to work to make disarmament a reality. 

"For Germany's part, it has made its contribution to the solution of this 
problem not only in theoretical terms: it has actually disarmed a gigantic army 
to such an extent that only a disproportionately small force remains." 

In reply to the question of what the Reich Chancellor thinks of the Treaty 
of Versailles, he stated: 

"The Treaty of Versailles is a misfortune not only as regards Germany, but 
also as regards other peoples. It is an unfortunate mistake to want to divide the 
world into victors and vanquished; the attempt to make such a division 
undermines mutual trust among peoples, which also pervades the economy, an 
area which has been done the greatest injustice by virtue of this Treaty; in regard 
to the chances for improving this miscalculated Treaty, we are combatting all 
damaging differences of opinion between the nations which it has brought 
about. 

"Certainly one can differentiate, shortly after a war, between the victors and 
the vanquished, but this can never, ever serve as a basis for a world order. 

"I believe that we are not alone in crying out for a revision of the Treaty of 
Versailles, that one day the whole world will join in this cry. In any case, every 
German Government will demand that the injustice provided for in this Treaty 
is righted." 

In answer to the question as to how the Reich Chancellor believes France 
will react to these endeavors, the Chancellor replied that, at present, he is still 
hoping that Paris will also recognize how untenable the Treaties of 1919 are. 

Asked to comment on the continual French armament, Reichskanzler 
Hitler stated: "I believe not only we, but the other states as well, are surprised at 
the amount of money the French have at their disposal for which they seem to 
have no purpose. We demand that the existence of every nation be secured to 
the extent required by its environment. For our part, we also have the right to 
demand this as laid down in the records of the League of Nations, and we will 
demand it. 

"The situation as it is today has never before existed in history. Even in 
1814, when the allies united against the imperious attempt to force Europe to 
subject itself to French domination, although they crushed Napoleon's rule, no 
one insisted that France be branded as forever vanquished and stripped bare of 
all its rights." 

Asked about the so-called "Polish Corridor," the Reich Chancellor noted 
that, in his opinion, this constituted a particularly grave injustice to the German 
nation. 

In regard to the problems of Communism, he added in closing that this was 
not a question involving a foreign state, but rather the manifestation of an 
infiltration which presented a domestic problem. He was of the opinion that 
Communism must be overcome, and exterminated in Germany in order to 
facilitate peaceful development and allow the German nation to flourish once 
more. 

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February 8, 1933 

On February 8, Hitler was back in Berlin to speak before the leaders 
of the German press. 83 He wanted to win their approval for the new 
restrictions on the right of freedom of assembly and freedom of the 
press which he had just imposed with the "Emergency Decree for the 
Protection of the German Volk" (Notverordnung zum Schutz des 
deutschen Volkes) of February 4, 84 and thus was more than gracious. 

He and the Reich Government were in no way interested in gagging 
the press, he declared. However, the Reich Government must be able to 
expect the press to concede that the new men in power had the good 
intention of doing their best for Volk und Vaterland. Hitler launched on 
an excursion through history and recapitulated faulty judgments on the 
part of the German press in the period from 1859 to 1871 and in regard 
to Richard Wagner. His interest now, so he stated, lay in protecting the 
current press from making similar errors. At the end of his speech, 
however, he changed his tune and declared that extremely drastic 
measures were called for against those who wilfully attempted to harm 
Germany [i.e. Hitler]. 

As has been evidenced, the initial week following Hitler's advent to 
power was so packed with all sorts of activities that Hitler had been 
unable to indulge in his favorite pastime, i.e. speaking to the masses. 

However, he more than made up for this now by attending 
numerous rallies. 

On February 10, Hitler spoke for the first time as Reich Chancellor 
at the Berlin Sportpalast, the scene of so many of his appearances during 
the 'time of struggle.' 

It was there he had for years blamed the "November Criminals" for 
Germany's misfortune. He had been the most zealous advocate of the 
"stab-in-the-back" theory, according to which those men who had taken 
over the government in November 1918 following the military collapse 
of the Empire had robbed the German Army of their victory. In reality 
however, the Supreme Command of the Imperial Army, Hindenburg 
and Ludendorff, had been the ones who — as early as September 1918 — 
had demanded an armistice within 24 hours, recognizing that the 
German Army could no longer withstand the enemy's attacks. By that 
time, the question of how long the German front could hold out against 
the united world powers was only a matter of simple arithmetic. 

Hitler had warned the "November Criminals" that, when he took 
power, he would "let their heads roll." 85 Now that he had become 
Chancellor, it might have been interesting to see which alleged "November 
Criminals" he would prosecute. But in this first speech after January 30— 

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February 10, 1933 

and in all subsequent speeches— it became evident that he would do 
nothing of the sort, for the "November Criminals" had been only an 
opportune figment of his imagination. 

Hitler concentrated on new grievances: the chaos the Weimar 
parties had left behind after fourteen years in office, and the "crime of 
inflation," a theme which was certain to elicit applause from the entire 
audience. The inflation which had plagued Germany after the First 
World War was generally regarded as a fraud, and the German people 
led to believe that they had been robbed of their hard-earned savings by 
an obscure group of exploiters, Jews and enemy aliens. Even today, 
many are still unaware of the fact that war, due to loss of production and 
the disruption of money values, is perforce accompanied by a currency 
devaluation which affects both victors and vanquished, although the 
vanquished are naturally hit harder by the blow to their economy. This 
phenomenon did not occur for the first time after World War I; it has 
been manifested after every war since the introduction of monetary 
currency. 

Those listening to Hitler in the Berlin Sportpalast and throughout 
Germany (every radio station broadcast the speech) on this February 10, 
1933 naturally had no idea what Germany would be like twelve years 
later. They were still impressed by Hitler's recapitulations of the past 
and prophecies for the future. Following the obligatory "party 
narrative," the long-winded recapitulation of the period of struggle since 
1919, he turned to rail against the economic policies of the Weimar 
system parties: 86 

Then they committed the crime of inflation, and after this rampage on the 
part of their Minister Hilferding, a ruinous usury set in. 

Outrageously exorbitant interest rates, which should never have been 
allowed to go unpunished in any state, are now part and parcel of the "social" 
Republic, and this is where the destruction of production begins, the destruction 
wreaked by these Marxist theories of economics as such, and moreover by the 
madness of a taxation policy which sees to the rest; and now we witness how 
class upon class are collapsing, how hundreds of thousands, gradually driven to 
despair, are losing their livelihoods; and how, year after year, tens of thousands 
of bankruptcies and hundreds of thousands of compulsory auctions are taking 
place. Then the peasantry starts to become impoverished, the most industrious 
class in the entire Volk is driven to ruin, can no longer exist, and then this 
process spreads back to the cities, and the army of unemployed begins to grow: 
one million, two, three, four million, five million, six million, seven million; 
today the number might actually lie between seven and eight million. 

They destroyed what they could in fourteen years of work, and no one did 
anything to stop them. 

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February 10, 1933 

Today this distress can perhaps be best illustrated by a single comparison. 
One Land: Thuringia. Total revenues from its communities amount to 26 
million marks. This money must suffice to defray the costs of their 
administration and cover the maintenance of their public buildings as well as 
everything they spend for schools and educational purposes. This money must 
cover what they spend on welfare. A total of 26 million in revenues, and welfare 
support alone requires 45 million. 

That's what Germany looks like today! Under the rule of these parties who 
have ruined our Volk for fourteen years. The only question is, for how much 
longer? Because of my conviction that we must begin with the rescue work now 
if we do not want to come too late, I declared my willingness on January 30 to 
make use of the Movement — which has meanwhile swelled from seven men to a 
force of twelve million — toward saving the German Volk und Vaterland. 

Our opponents are asking about our program. 87 My national comrades, I 
could now pose the question to these same opponents: "Where was your 
program?" Did you actually intend to have happen what did happen to 
Germany? Was that your program, or didn't you want that? Who prevented 
you from doing the opposite? Surely they do not intend to now suddenly recall 
that they bear the responsibility for fourteen years. However, we shall both 
remind and reproach them and thus make certain that their conscience may not 
rest, that their memory does not fade. 

When they say, "Show us the details of your program," then my only 
answer is this: any government at any time would presumably have been able to 
have a program with a few concrete points. But after your fine state of affairs, 
after your dabbling, after your subversion, the German Volk must be rebuilt 
from top to bottom, just as you destroyed it from top to bottom! That is our 
program! And a number of great tasks tower before us. The best and thus the 
first item on our program is: we do not want to lie and we do not want to con. 
This is the reason why I have refused ever to step before this Volk and make 
cheap promises. No one here can stand up against me and testify that I have ever 
said that Germany's resurrection was only a matter of a few days. Again and 
again I preach: the resurrection of the German nation is a question of recovering 
the inner strength and health of the German Volk. 

Just as I myself have now worked for fourteen years, untiringly and without 
ever wavering, to build this Movement; and just as I have succeeded in turning 
seven men into a force of twelve million, in the same way I want and we all want 
to build and work on giving new heart to our German Volk. Just as this 
Movement today has been given the responsibility of the leadership of the 
German Reich, so shall we one day lead this German Reich back to life and to 
greatness. We are determined to allow nothing to shake us in this conviction. 

Thus I come to the second item on our program. I do not want to promise 
them that this resurrection of the German Volk will come of itself. 

We are willing to work, but the Volk must help us. It should never make 
the mistake of believing that life, liberty and happiness will fall from heaven. 
Everything is rooted in one's own will, in one's own work. 

And thirdly, we wish to have all of our efforts guided by one realization, 
one conviction: we shall never believe in foreign help, never in help which lies 

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February 10, 1933 

outside our own nation, outside our own Volk. The future of the German Volk 
lies in itself alone. Only when we have succeeded in leading this German Volk 
onwards by means of its own work, its own industriousness, its own defiance, 
and its own perseverance— only then will we rise up, just as our fathers once 
made Germany great, not with the help of others, but on their own. 

The fourth item on our program dictates that we rebuild our Volk not 
according to theories hatched by some alien brain, but according to the eternal 
laws valid for all time. Not according to theories of class, not according to 
concepts of class. We can summarize our fifth item in a single realization: 

The fundamentals of our life are founded on values which no one can take 
away from us except we ourselves; they are founded on our own flesh and blood 
and willpower and in our soil. Volk und Erde — those are the two roots from 
which we will draw our strength and upon which we propose to base our 
resolves. And this brings us thus to our sixth item, clearly the goal of our 
struggle: the preservation of this Volk and this soil, the preservation of this Volk 
for the future, in the realization that this alone can constitute our reason for 
being. It is not for ideas that we live, not for theories or fantastic party programs; 
no, we live and fight for the German Volk, for the preservation of its existence, 
that it may undertake its own struggle for existence, and we are thereby 
convinced that only in this way do we make our contribution to what everyone 
else so gladly places in the foreground: world peace. 

This peace has always required strong peoples who strive for and protect it. 
World culture is founded upon the cultures of the different nations and peoples. 
A world economy is only conceivable if supported by the economies of healthy 
individual nations. 

In starting with our own Volk, we are assisting in the reconstruction of the 
entire world in that we are repairing one building block which cannot be 
removed from the framework and structure of the rest of the world. 

And another item reads: because we perceive our highest goal to be the 
preservation of our Volk, enabling it to undertake its own struggle for existence, 
we must eliminate the causes of our own disintegration and thus bring about the 
reconciliation of the German classes. A goal which cannot be achieved in six 
weeks or four months if others have been laboring at this decay for seventy 
years. But a goal which we always keep in mind, because we shall rebuild this 
new community ourselves and slowly eliminate the manifestations of this 
disintegration. The parties which support this class division can, however, be 
certain that as long as the Almighty keeps me alive, my resolve and my will to 
destroy them will know no bounds. Never, never will I stray from the task of 
stamping out Marxism and its side effects in Germany, and never will I be 
willing to make any compromise on this point. 

There can be only one victor: either Marxism or the German Volk! And 
Germany will triumph! 

In bringing about this reconciliation of the classes, directly and indirectly, 
we want to proceed in leading this united German Volk back to the eternal 
sources of its strength; we want, by means of an education starting in the cradle, 
to implant in young minds a belief in a God and the belief in our Volk. Then 
we want to resurrect this Volk on the foundation of the German peasants, the 

247 



February 10, 1933 

cornerstones of all volkisch life. When I fight for the future of Germany, I must 
fight for German soil and I must fight for the German peasant. He renews us, 
he gives us the people in the cities, he has been the everlasting source for 
millenniums, and his existence must be secured. 

And then I proceed to the second pillar of our national tradition: the German 
worker — the German worker who, in future, shall no longer and must no longer 
be an alien in the German Reich; whom we want to lead back to the community 
of our Volk and for whom we will break down the doors so that he, too, can 
become part of the German Volksgemeinschaft as one of the bulwarks of the 
German nation. We will then ensure that the German spirit has the opportunity 
to unfold; we want to restore the value of character and the creative power of the 
individual to their everlasting prerogatives. Thus we want to break with all the 
manifestations of a rotten democracy and place in its stead the everlasting 
realization that everything which is great can originate only in the power of the 
individual and that everything which is to be preserved must be entrusted once 
more to the ability of the individual. We will combat the manifestations of our 
parliamentary and democratic system, which leads us to our twelfth item — 
restoring decency to our Volk. In addition to decency in all areas of our life: 
decency in our administration, decency in public life, and decency in our culture 
as well, we want to restore German honor, to restore its due respect and the 
commitment to it, and we want to engrave upon our hearts the commitment to 
freedom; in doing so, we desire to bestow once more upon the Volk a genuinely 
German culture with German art, German architecture, and German music, 
which shall restore to us our soul, and we shall thus evoke reverence for the great 
traditions of our Volk; evoke deep reverence for the accomplishments of the past, 
a humble admiration for the great men of German history. 

We want to lead our youth back to this glorious Reich of our past. Humbled 
shall they bow before those who lived before us and labored and worked and 
toiled so that they could live today. And we want most of all to educate this 
youth to revere those who once made the most difficult sacrifice for the life of 
our Volk and the future of our Volk. For all the damage these fourteen years 
wrought, their worst crime was that they defrauded two million dead of their 
sacrifice, and these two million shall rise anew before the eyes of our youth as 
an eternal warning, as a demand that they be revenged. We want to educate our 
youth to revere our time-honored army, which they should remember, which 
they should admire, and in which they should once more recognize the 
powerful expression of the strength of the German nation, the epitome of the 
greatest achievement our Volk has ever accomplished in its history. 

Thus this program will be a program of national resurrection in all areas of 
life, intolerant against anyone who sins against the nation, but a brother and 
friend to anyone who has the will to fight with us for the resurrection of his 
Volk, of our nation. 

Therefore I today address my final appeal to my Volksgenossen: 

On January 30, we took over government. Devastating conditions have 
descended upon our Volk. It is our desire to remedy them, and we will succeed 
in doing so. Just as we have eliminated these adversaries despite all the scorn, we 
shall also eliminate the consequences of their rule. 

248 



February 10, 1933 

To do justice to God and our own conscience, we have turned once more to 
the German Volk. It shall now play a helping role. 

It will not deter us should the German Volk abandon us in this hour. We 
will adhere to whatever is necessary to keep Germany from degenerating. 
However, it is our wish that this age of restoration of the German nation be 
associated not only with a few names, but with the name of the German Volk 
itself; that the government not be working alone, but that a mass of millions 
come to stand behind this government; that the government have the will, with 
the aid of this backing, to fortify us once again for this great and difficult task. I 
know that, were the graves to open today, the ghosts of the past who once 
fought and died for Germany would float aloft, and our place today would be 
behind them. All the great men of our history, of this I am certain, are behind 
us today and watch over our work and our labors. 

For fourteen years the parties of disintegration, of the November 
Revolution, have seduced and abused the German Volk. For fourteen years they 
wreaked destruction, infiltration, and dissolution. Considering this, it is not 
presumptuous of me to stand before the nation today and plead of it: German 
Volk, give us four years' time and then pass judgment upon us. German Volk, 
give us four years, and I swear to you, just as we, just as I have taken this office, 
so shall I leave it. 

I have done it neither for salary nor for wages; I have done it for your sake! 
It has been the most difficult decision of my life. I dared to make it because I 
believed that it had to be. 

I have dared to make this decision because I am certain that one cannot 
afford to hesitate any longer. 

I have dared to make this decision because it is my conviction that our Volk 
will finally return to its senses and that, even if millions might curse us today, 
the hour will come in which they will march with us after all, having recognized 
that we really wanted nothing but the best and had no other goal in sight than 
serving what is, to us, most precious on earth. 

Hitler was brazen enough to claim that it had been "the most 
difficult decision of his life" to become Reich Chancellor — although he 
had 'struggled' for fourteen years for nothing other than this very post! 
As a matter of fact, however, he frequently proclaimed in subsequent 
years that one thing or another had been "the most difficult decision of 
his life." 88 

In his speech, Hitler cited program item no. 1 as "We do not want 
to lie and we do not want to con!" As long as things are going well, it is, 
of course, not difficult to tell the truth. However, when Hitler's star 
began to wane in the Second World War and the difficulties refused to 
end, he conned his way through no less than other governments had 
done before him and led the people to believe that there was still some 
way out, quite cognizant of the fact throughout that the situation was 
hopeless. He even lied in this speech on February 10 when he promised: 

249 



February 10, 1933 

"German Volk, give us four years, and I swear to you, just as we, just as 
I have taken this office, so shall I leave it." 

This oath was nothing but perjury, for he had declared in October 
1932: "When I once enter the government, I do not intend to leave it" 89 
or "If we do one day achieve power, then we will hold onto it, so help 
us God." 90 

It was out of the question that Hitler would submit to the judgment 
of the people or much less consider stepping down four years later— or 
in 1945. Throughout 1937, a year in which Hitler would have had 
nothing to fear from the people's judgment, not a single plebiscite or 
election took place, although he had declared a few short months before 
his ascent to power: "Just as the peasant must till his field year after year, 
so must a statesman till his Volk [by means of plebiscites]." 91 

Hitler had something special in mind for the closing of his speech on 
February 10, 1933. He ended his address, which had lasted for several 
hours, by paraphrasing the Protestant version of the Lord's Prayer, 92 
evidently with the design — as a Catholic — of impressing the Protestants: 

For I cannot divest myself of my faith in my Volk, cannot disassociate 
myself from the conviction that this nation will one day rise again, cannot 
divorce myself from my love for this, my Volk, and I cherish the firm 
conviction that the hour will come at last in which the millions who despise us 
today will stand by us and with us will hail the new, hard-won and painfully 
acquired German Reich we have created together, the new German kingdom of 
greatness and power and glory and justice. Amen. 

It appears that Hitler took pains to earn the title of "Nazi Padre" 
(Nazi-Feldprediger) bestowed upon him by the Social Democratic press 
years before. 

On February 11, Hitler made an appearance of a completely 
different nature. Festively attired in a cutaway coat, he inaugurated the 
opening of the International Automobile and Motorcycle Exhibition on 
the Kaiserdamm in Berlin. It was the first time a Reich Chancellor had 
opened an exhibition of this sort, and the magnates of the automobile 
industry were flattered by the honor. Their satisfaction increased when 
Hitler presented himself not only as a respectable and responsible 
statesman but as a knowledgeable expert on motorization as well. 

His speech commenced with a lengthy perspective on the evolution 
of the various means of transportation in general and Germany's 
outstanding contribution to this field in particular. 

Proceeding to more practical questions, he declared: 93 

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February 11, 1933 

As I am today given the honor of speaking to you at the request of the Reich 
President, my dear Gentlemen of the [automobile] industry, I would not want 
to neglect conveying to you my opinion regarding what I believe to be necessary 
toward promoting what is probably today's most important industry. 

1. Separation of the state motor traffic syndicate from the present realm of 
transportation. The automobile, by its very nature, is more closely affiliated 
with the airplane than with the railroad. Automobiles and airplanes have a 
common basis in the motor industry. Without the development of, for instance, 
the diesel engine for motor traffic, it would have been practically impossible to 
lay the necessary groundwork for its utilization in aviation. 

2. Gradual reduction of the tax burden. 

3. Institution and implementation of a large-scale roadbuilding program. 

4. Promotion of sports events. 

Just as the horse and cart once burned their trails and the railroad built its 
required track network, so must motorized traffic be supplied with the requisite 
roads. In the past, one attempted to measure a people's standard of living in 
terms of track kilometers; in the future, road kilometers for motorized traffic 
will replace this yardstick. 

These are momentous tasks which are also part of the program for the 
reconstruction of the German economy! 

Now I would like to thank you on behalf of the Reich President and the 
Reich Government for everything you have accomplished in the meantime on 
your own initiative. We are able to view this attractive exhibition today thanks 
to three factors which I would like to recall here: 

You businessmen and leaders of industry and commerce have possessed the 
boldness not to abandon the struggle even in these troubled times, but to take 
up the fight against the foreign automobile industry, which is, in part, so much 
better situated. 

But I would also like to thank the countless German designers and 
technicians whose genius is creating wondrous works of human invention. It is 
regrettable that our Volk is rarely given the opportunity to become acquainted 
with these nameless men who, by designing our cars, not only make hundreds of 
thousands of individuals happy, but have also opened up new and comfortable 
means of transportation for millions across the board of motorized traffic. 

And I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to that great 
army of our German workers, whose industriousness and ability and 
tremendous conscientiousness in their work makes it possible to transform 
technological ideas into machines which can be described as real masterpieces of 
precision as well as aesthetic beauty. 

Lastly, I wish to commemorate the German Volk. May it, as well, fully 
appreciate the work, industriousness and genius of so many efforts. May it here, 
as well, revere its German masters of brains and brawn, and may it never forget 
that many tens of thousands of our Volksgenossen are without work and have 
the right to expect that the entire Volk remember these comrades and, out of 
solidarity with their need, recognize their brotherhood with German workers. 

With this hope, I hereby with proud confidence declare this Automobile 
Exhibition on behalf of the Reich President open to the public. 

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February 11, 1933 

Following this successful speech to the heads of the auto industry, 
Hitler changed back to his brown uniform and flew to Kassel for a 
speech celebrating the inauguration of the Adolf Hitler Haus on 
February 11. In essence, he repeated the remarks he had made in the 
Sportpalast the day before in a somewhat revised form and added: 94 

The age of international solidarity is over. The national solidarity of the 
German Volk will take its place! 

On February 12, Hitler attended a memorial ceremony in Leipzig 
commemorating the 50th anniversary of Richard Wagner's death; he did 
not, however, make any remarks on the occasion. 

On February 14, Hitler received representatives of the entire 
National Socialist press in the Reich Chancellory and outlined what he 
expected of them, namely: 95 

The education of the entire German press to perceive of service to the Volk 
as its governing principle, from which the press derived the justification for its 
very existence as a public facility. 

In the place of irresponsible sensationalism and angling for popularity, 
which unfortunately continued to dominate a major part of Germany's press 
even today, the German press was to establish as its future goal a genuine means 
of expression and a true reflection of German life and spirit. 

He would, the Chancellor stated, support the German press in 
accomplishing these great tasks, which unfortunately had frequently been 
subordinated to other interests by a major part of the press today, just as he 
would, in regard to the type of journalism which abused its freedom to operate 
in a public scope for anti-national agitation or tolerated and covered up for these 
types of elements in its own ranks due to misconceived solidarity, bring those 
feelings to bear which this type of journalism deserved. 

On the same day, Hitler instructed an assembly of SA and SS leaders 
in Berlin as to the particulars of their role in conducting the election 
campaign. 96 

On February 15, Hitler addressed associations of war victims 
(Kriegsopferverbdnde) at a reception in the Reich Chancellory and 
declared that he would "tackle the problem of victims of war at its very 
roots." 97 

That evening he continued his election campaign in Stuttgart. 
Wtirttemberg was still governed by the Center Party, and Hitler was 
keen to settle accounts with its head, President Bolz, as a standin, so to 
speak, for the entire Center. Bolz had issued a statement rejecting 
Hitler's new government on the grounds that he, Bolz, supported 
freedom. Now Hitler replied to him in the heart of Stuttgart: 98 

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February 15, 1933 

I can understand when a State President judges that the hour has come for a 
confrontation with the new age. I am gladly willing to excuse the less than 
objective phrases which were used in this context, for it is not difficult to 
understand the internal uneasiness and nervousness of this man, of this 
representative of days past. Thus I would like to refrain from replying in kind; 
I prefer to answer objectively and dismiss each charge step by step. 

In reply to State President Bolz' accusation that we have dealt in nothing but 
empty words for twelve years, I may state: 

It was not we who were in power for these twelve years, but rather the 
State President's party. The Volk will certainly have realized by now which 
side was voicing these empty phrases. Twelve years constitute conclusive 
evidence; otherwise the others would not have joined us. In these long years of 
rule by the State President's party, we have witnessed disintegration in every 
single sector. 

It astounds me that a representative of the Center is trying to tell us 
something about freedom. Did our Movement not go through an outrageous 
chain of suppression and gagging for thirteen years at the hands of those who 
address us like this today? Was that freedom, when our Movement was punished 
and suppressed for its national aspirations? When our fighters were thrown into 
prison, when the shirts of our SA men were ripped off their backs, when our 
press was ruthlessly prohibited and when we were made to suffer everything else 
in these thirteen years? Those who made no mention of our freedom for 
fourteen years have no right to talk about it today. As Chancellor 1 need only 
use all those means once used against the friends of the nation. I need only use 
one law for the protection of the national state, just as they made a law for the 
protection of the Republic back then, and then they would realize that not 
everything they called freedom was worthy of the name. 

And when these parties claim today that at least a gradual improvement had 
been in the offing, all I can say is that this did not come about because of them, 
but rather because this young Movement had come to life. If there is a people in 
Geneva who is well-disposed to us today, it is not they, but we who are to thank 
for initiating this development. Today they say that Christianity is in danger, 
that the Catholic faith is threatened. My reply to them is: for the time being, 
Christians and not international atheists are now standing at Germany's fore. 

I am not merely talking about Christianity; I confess that I will never ally 
myself with the parties which aim to destroy Christianity. Fourteen years they 
have gone arm in arm with atheism. At no time was greater damage ever done 
to Christianity than in those years when the Christian parties ruled side by side 
with those who denied the very existence of God. Germany's entire cultural life 
was shattered and contaminated in this period. 

It shall be our task to burn out these manifestations of degeneracy in 
literature, theater, schools, and the press— that is, in our entire culture— and to 
eliminate the poison which has been permeating every facet of our lives for these 
past fourteen years. 

And were their policies in the economic sector Christian policies? Was the 
inflation which accompanied their rule supposed to be a Christian undertaking? 

253 



February 15, 1933 

Were the destruction of the German economy, the impoverishment of the 
artisan class, the collapse of the farms, the unrelenting increase in unemployment, 
all of which we witnessed for fourteen years, acts of Christianity? 

And when today you say: we need a few more years to change this situation, 
then I answer: no, now it is too late for you to change things. You had fourteen 
years, during which the heavens gave you all the power you needed to 
demonstrate what you were capable of. You have failed on every count: your 
work has wrought only one long string of horrible aberrations. 

When today we are told that we have no program, my answer is: 

For two years now this other Germany has subsisted on burglaries from our 
store of ideas. 

All of the plans for providing work for the unemployed, for labor service, 
etc. — they are not the work of State President Bolz; they come from our 
program of reconstruction from which they have been extracted, thus making 
their implementation outside of the framework of the program a complete 
impossibiliy. I repeat that our fight against Marxism will be relentless, and that 
every movement which allies itself to Marxism will come to grief with it. We do 
not want an internal war between brothers, and we regard as our allies all those 
wishing to join in our work of reconstruction. But let there be no doubt of one 
thing: The time of international Marxist -pacifist infiltration and destruction of 
our Vaterland is over. 

On March 5, the German Volk is called upon once more to make its own 
decision. It shall decide whether it wishes to relive the last fourteen years, or 
march with us into a future we shall form with the power which lies within us. 
I am willing to extend my hand to anyone who wishes to help us, even to those 
who have been blinded hitherto. 

I will refrain, in this campaign, from using funds allotted for combatting 
crime, although I would have more reason to do so than the others. 

But together with my allies, I am determined to not allow Germany under 
any circumstances to revert to the rule of the recent past. 

Germany must never again and shall never again fall back into the hands of 
those who have been its undoing. 

Hitler made it very clear in this speech that, should the election on 
March 5 fail to result in a majority for his cabinet, "under no 
circumstances" would he resign; on the contrary, he would take action 
against the remaining Lander Governments of the Weimar regime. "The 
day will come when even Herr Bolz will be forced to step down," 99 he 
declared in Stuttgart on February 15. However, he did not have this 
passage printed in the Volkischer Beobachter. 

On February 16, Hitler was back in Berlin; on February 17, he 
delivered a campaign speech in the Dortmund Westfalenhalle. 100 

On February 18, Hitler attended conferences in Munich, and on the 
following day he once again held a campaign speech, this time in the 
Cologne Exhibition Hall. 101 

254 



February 20, 1933 

On February 20, Hitler addressed leading industrialists assembled at 
the Reichsprasidentenpalais in Berlin for a change. 102 Here he again left 
no doubt that the results of the March 5 election would have no impact 
whatsoever on the direction German Government had taken. 

In the next few days, Hitler once more granted interviews to foreign 
journalists. To the representative of the Budapest Hirlap he disclosed that 
the NSDAP would capture at least three million votes in the March 5 
election. 103 However, mindful of his false prognosis regarding the first 
round of presidential election in 1932, he added: 

But in any case the figures are of no interest to me, our victory is a certainty, 
an absolute certainty. 

Hitler relayed his greetings to the "brave and chivalrous Hungarian 
nation" and stressed the friendly relations between the two countries 
and the similar fate of Germany and Hungary after the World War. 

In his interview with Louis P. Lochner of the Associated Press, 104 
Hitler also made a point of noting Germany's friendly attitude toward 
America and voiced his support for the redemption of private foreign 
debts. He went into depth on the problem of the militia, stating as 
follows: 

The compulsory labor service to which we aspire has nothing in common 
with a militia. A militia should serve as a form of national defense. The concept 
of compulsory labor service originated in the catastrophic economic need and its 
resultant unemployment. Compulsory labor service is designed primarily to 
prevent hundreds of thousands of our young workers from helplessly 
degenerating on our streets. However, providing a general education in the 
world of work will also help to bridge the gap between class differences. As a 
National Socialist, I regard a general compulsory labor service as a means of 
providing an education in respect for work. Our young people should learn that 
work ennobles man. 

In the year 1919, Germany suggested that we be given permission to 
establish a militia. At that time, we were required to establish a professional 
army with a compulsory twelve-year term of conscription. Thus Germany has 
no reserves with military training worthy of mention. Now people have 
suddenly begun talking about abolishing the professional army and installing a 
militia. It is my feeling that this is only happening in order to distract from the 
real core of the issue. Not the type of defense system, but rather the question of 
equal rights is decisive. If this question is settled, general and reasonable 
disarmament worldwide will become a possibility; for no one will be willing to 
claim that the world is made to suffer from the fact that Germany has only a 
ridiculously small professional army and no militia at all. 

The world is made to suffer from the fact that the Treaty of Versailles 
provides for the concept of two different types of rights to be established for all 

255 



February 20, 1933 

eternity. This ridiculous division of the nations into victors — who have a right 
to exist — and vanquished — who have a lesser right to exist — is untenable and 
leads to general mistrust and in turn to an added strain on military armaments. 
Personally, we could not care less which systems of defense the other nations 
choose to implement. 

Professional armies, for all we care; but we do care whether one nation has 
a force of 100,000 without reserves, while another, together with its allies in case 
of war, has a force of over twelve million. And we do care whether one nation 
has been disarmed of all technical weapons while another has at its disposal the 
most modern offensive weapons available and is thus more than ten times 
superior. 

The Treaty of Versailles stipulated that we were to disarm — not so that a 
discussion about defense systems would take place thirteen years later, but so 
that other peoples would be in a position to disarm as well. We have been 
waiting for this disarmament now for more than ten years. 

While Hitler himself sharply attacked the Center Party by "settling 
accounts" with Bolz in Stuttgart, he frowned upon similar assaults on 
the Center being made by his party comrades. He knew that this might 
all too easily result in a disastrous conflict with the Catholic Church, for 
he had not forgotten the lessons of the Alldeutsche in Austria and 
Bismarck in Prussia. In addition, he did not yet know how long he 
would need the Center. Thus he issued the following proclamation to 
the Party: 105 

National Socialists! 

Provocative elements are attempting, under the guise of the Party, to 
discredit the National Socialist Movement by disrupting and breaking up Center 
Party assemblies in particular. I expect all National Socialists to distance 
themselves from these designs with utmost discipline. The enemy who must be 
felled on March 5 is Marxism! It is against Marxism that we must concentrate 
our entire propaganda and thus the entire election campaign. 

If, in the course of this campaign, the Center chooses to support Marxism 
by attacking our Movement, then I will attend to the Center in any given case 
and party these attacks and settle the matter. 

And another thing: do not attend our opponents' assemblies, but instead 
contribute to making our own assemblies tremendous demonstrations of the 
awakening nation! 

National Socialists! You have prepared the German Erhebung for the past 
fourteen years, you must complete it today! 

Berlin, February 22, 1933 Adolf Hitler 

On February 24, Hitler held another major election speech at the 
Munich Exhibition Grounds, after having spoken shortly before at 
festivities celebrating the anniversary of the Party in the Festsaal of the 
Hofbrauhaus which were attended by 2,000 old party comrades. 106 

256 



February 24, 1933 

The "party narrative," an elaborate recapitulation of the evolution 
of the NSDAP from seven men to a movement of millions, naturally 
took up a major portion of the speech. Then Hitler proceeded to 
comment on a peculiar remark made by Councillor of State Schaffer 107 
in Forchheim on February 22 to the effect that any Reich Commissar 
appointed to Bavaria would be arrested at the border. 

Even if there are people who believe they need to threaten to draw a Main 
Line, 108 this matter is neither Bavarian nor South German; but rather a single 
party's politics. These politics no longer exist — on the contrary: if ever the 
attempt to broach this question is repeated, Bavaria will be the one to shatter and 
destroy it. 

And you might take note of one thing: I myself am, given my forefathers, 
my birth, and my descent, a genuine Bavarian. For the first time since the Reich 
was founded, Bismarck's status has been placed in the hands of a Bavarian. 109 

I hold myself responsible, as God is my witness, that nothing which has 
been entrusted with this status will ever again fall into ruin. 

The last segment of Hitler's speech in Munich was devoted once 
again to his claim that he would submit his government to the judgment 
of the people and refrain from building himself a villa in Switzerland 
and opening a bank account there; that he would even allow the Volk 
to crucify him were it dissatisfied with him. 

When today the opponents say, how can it be that you have control of the 
government? I could reply, how can it be that you are still around? I know that, 
in Germany today, there exists the possibility of having a majority in the 
negative sense of the word. But no combination is better for positive work than 
the one we have now. If others wish to join in this work — be our guests; I have 
not withheld my consent. However, if anyone says to me in one and the same 
breath: I would like to take up with you, but I reserve the right to take up with 
Marxism, too; then I have to say: No! 

And above all: I will not allow myself to be 'tolerated' by other parties! I 
will answer to the German Volk, not to the parties! 

In four years I will once more lay myself open to Germany and the German 
Volk whom the others have driven to ruin. The Volk shall then form its 
judgment, take its decision and pass sentence upon me, and then, for all I care, 
it can crucify me if it finds I have not done my duty. I did not take this post for 
my own personal advantage or in order to secure any personal benefits for 
myself. I have put this promise into practice countless times, and this will also 
be the case in future. I will never build myself a villa in Switzerland or open a 
bank account there! I will stand by my Volk and be willing to answer to it once 
more after these four years. I will stand with the Volk and am grateful for any 
assistance. 

However, it is my wish that this Volk help itself in this task, so that one day 
it may not be said that only one or only a handful fought for German freedom, 

257 



February 24, 1933 

but rather: in the end, the Volk joined the great struggle and put its faith in it 
and its trust and marched with the others and assisted in turning a time of 
wretchedness and misery and need into a time of freedom and glory after all, so 
that this Germany, a Germany of disintegration and shame, indeed once again 
became what we once knew and what we want our children to come to know 
one day. 

Do your duty! In doing so, you are assisting in bringing back that Germany 
we once took on from our fathers! We must make up for yesterday's misdeeds! 
It is our task to make certain that the pages in German history which cite and 
bear witness to our disintegration are torn in half by our hands and that one day 
German youth will experience the new Reich. From need and misery and 
wretchedness and depravity shall arise a new German Reich of which we can be 
proud, and which has given us the freedom to give our people their daily bread 
and thus peace on earth! 

Hitler closed his speech with this histrionic flourish, a mixed bag of 
phrases taken from the Lord's Prayer and the angel's message to 
Bethlehem, but this time he omitted the final touch, the "Amen" he had 
added on February 10 in Berlin. He knew his limits in the Catholic city 
of Munich. On February 25, Hitler held a further campaign speech in 
Nuremberg. 110 

As of February 27 he was back in Berlin. The fifth of March was 
nearing steadily. After the election, Hitler planned to take immediate 
action against the non-National Socialist Lander Governments. He 
already had the draft of an emergency decree set aside for the occasion, 
which would allow him to appoint Reich Commissars without having 
to call upon Hindenburg in each case. 

The decree giving Hitler a free hand was the "Decree for the 
Protection of the Volk and the State," to be enacted in the event of 
Communist acts of violence. As early as February 2, he had hinted at his 
intentions in a proclamation to the SA: 111 

The hour for crushing this [Communist] terror is coming. 

On February 27, 1933, the Reichstag building went up in flames, 112 
and on February 28, Hindenburg signed the prepared emergency 
decree. 113 It was short and to the point, suspending all of the Articles of 
the Weimar Constitution which could be rescinded in states of 
emergency, 114 instituting the death penalty for crimes of high treason, 
conspiracy to assassinate, and similar plots, and authorizing the Reich 
Government to assume the powers of any Supreme Land Authority. This 
authorization was definitely of the greatest importance for Hitler. The 
other measures could, for the most part, have been derived from prior 

258 



February 28, 1933 

statutory regulations— particularly considering that Goring held 
authority over the Prussian police and had appointed tens of thousands of 
SA and SS men as auxiliary police on February 25. He had also filled the 
most important posts — Oberprasident and Chief of Police — with loyal 
National Socialists. The Social Democratic holders of these offices offered 
as little resistance to Goring as they had to Papen's dismissals from office 
on July 20, 1932. They were satisfied to retain their pensions. 

On February 28, Hitler sent the following letter to the Commissar 
of the Reich for the Prussian Ministry of the Interior, Reich Minister 
Goring: 115 

In yesterday's dastardly attack on the Reichstag building bearing the 
signature of a criminal Communist hand, the prompt action of the Berlin Fire 
Department, the circumspect direction of its leadership, and the self-sacrificing 
duty performed by individual firemen aided in averting, within the space of a 
few hours, the immediate danger of the complete destruction of the building and 
in holding the fire in containment. 

It was also the active initiative of the police which made it possible to go 
about the work of extinguishing the fire without disruption and to conduct a 
successful investigation into the crime. 

I am glad to take this opportunity to extend my special thanks and my 
warmest appreciation to all those who took part in the rescue operation, and I 
request that you, Herr Minister, bring this gratitude to the attention of the 
Berlin Fire Department and Police. 

Adolf Hitler 

On March 1, Hitler made his report on the political situation to the 
Reich President. He also received a delegation from the National 
Socialist workers' organization, the Nationalsozialistische Betriebszellen- 
organisation, NSBO (National Socialist Factory Cell Organization), and 
declared in his address 116 that the elimination of Marxism was of vital 
importance for the life interests of German workers. 

He judged this reminder appropriate in light of the arrests of 
"Marxist" KPD and SPD working class leaders which had been taking 
place since February 28, allegedly in order to counter an imminent coup 
on the part of the Communists. Subsequently, Hitler rejoined the 
election campaign. He spoke on March 1 in Breslau in the 
Jahrhunderthalle. 117 This was followed by speeches in Berlin 
(Sportpalast) on March 2 118 and Hamburg on March 3. 119 

Hitler's March 4 speech in Konigsberg 120 was broadcast on the radio 
as well. Throughout Germany, marches and torchlight processions were 
held on this "Day of the Awakening Nation," culminating in the loud- 
speaker transmission of Hitler's speech. 

259 



February 28, 1933 

To the customary "party narrative" and the settlement of accounts 
with the parties of the Weimar Republic, Hitler added the following 
words: 

In the end, we do not live for ourselves alone; rather, we are responsible for 
everything which those who lived before us have left behind, and we are 
responsible for that which we shall one day leave behind to those who must 
come after us. For Germany must not end with us. 



260 



March 5, 1933 



The election results of March 5 showed gains for the NSDAP 
amounting to 5.5 million voters, and the Party received 43.9% of all 
votes cast (44.5% of the seats in parliament); the Kampffront Schwarz- 
Weiss-Rot (DNVP) received approximately 8%. 

Although Hitler had not achieved an absolute majority, he had 
brought about a right-wing majority which made his government 
independent of the Center Party. For the first time since 1918, the 
German Reichstag contained a right-wing majority, and for the first 
time a presidential cabinet had secured the absolute majority in 
parliament. The seats in the Reichstag elected on March 5 were allocated 
as follows (the figures in parentheses reflect the results of the Reichstag 
elections on November 6, 1932): 



NSDAP 


288 ( 


196) 


SPD 


120 ( 


121) 


KPD 


81 


100) 


Center 


73 


70) 


Kampffront SchwarzWeissRot (DNVP) 


53 


'52) 


Bavarian People's Party 


19 


20) 


German People's Party 


2 


11) 


Christian Socialist People's Service 


4 


: 5) 


German State Party 


5 


: 2) 


German Peasants' Party 


2 


: 3) 


Thuringian Agrarian League 


— 


: 2) 


German Hanoverian Party 


— 


: i) 



Total 



647 (583) 



Hitler had taken nineteen mandates from the Communists and 
around twelve from the smaller right-wing parties. However, he did not 
score a major breakthrough with the traditional voters of the Weimar 

261 



March 5, 1933 

parties (the SPD, the Center together with the Bavarian People's Party, 
and the German State Party). Thus the substantial gains on the part of 
the NSDAP came from the ranks of non-voters who had previously 
abstained from politics. They had perhaps long been attracted to Hitler 
but doubted that he would ever come to power. Furthermore, those 
who had swayed between the NSDAP and the KPD chose to cast their 
ballots for Hitler this time. 

Any amendments to the Constitution and passing a respective 
Enabling Act would, of course, require the support of the Center and 
the Bavarian People's Party. Even though elected KPD deputies would 
be prevented from assuming their mandates, the right-wing parties were 
unable to achieve the requisite two-thirds majority (378 of 566 votes 
without the KPD; 432 of 647 including the KPD). Thus the cooperation 
of the Center and the BVP was required, and therefore the KPD 
deputies could have been allowed to take office if all that was at stake 
was the Enabling Act. 

However, by taking over the KPD votes in both the Reichstag and 
the Prussian Landtag, Hitler secured the absolute majority for the 
NSDAP. At any rate, he intended to abolish all of the parties except his 
own in the long run, and began now with the KPD. 121 

The election results of March 5 constituted a thorough success for 
Hitler. He hardly could have expected to receive more votes. Contrary 
to his usual habit, he refrained on this occasion from issuing a 
triumphant proclamation to his party comrades, the SA, and the SS. He 
preferred giving his SA and SS forces the opportunity to stage 
revolutionary-styled operations throughout the country— to hoist 
swastika and black-white-red flags on public buildings, to arrest 
undesirable persons, and to take revenge upon previous rulers who had 
been particularly harsh in their treatment of NSDAP members. It was 
only to be expected that violence and brutality would accompany these 
crusades. When people who have been oppressed, whether in Germany 
or any other country of the world, are suddenly given power without 
any binding restrictions, excess is the inevitable product. This power is 
abused, in that the former suppressors are made victims, with victims 
becoming, at times, even more cruel masters. 

Hitler was well aware of this, but remained unconcerned. At the time 
he was preoccupied with installing Reich Commissars in all of the non- 
National Socialist Lander. Frick took care of this by issuing the simple 
order to comply with the Emergency Decree for the Protection of the 
Volk and the State of February 28. Hamburg's Reich Commissar was 

262 



March 5, 1933 

appointed on the evening of that March 5. On March 6, Bremen, Lubeck, 
and Hesse followed; on March 8, Schaumburg-Lippe, Baden, 
Wiirttemberg, and Saxony; and on March 9, Bavaria. 

If it had once been believed abroad that there would be active 
resistance to Hitler's cabinet and its measures from Bavaria, this now 
proved to have been wishful thinking. In spite of all the words lost to 
the contrary, Bavaria had consistently complied with the wishes of the 
Reich Government since 1871 and never officially supported separatist 
activities. 

In 1923, Otto von Lossow, Reichswehr Commander in Bavaria, had 
requested directives from Berlin as to how he should counter Hitler's 
putsch attempt. He was told: "Crush it!" In 1933, the Reichswehr 
Commander in Bavaria — more specifically, his Chief of Staff, Colonel 
Wager 122 — asked Berlin how Bavaria should react toward Reich 
Commissar General von Epp. The reply was: "Keep the Reichswehr off 
the streets!" The only difference was that now, in 1933, Hitler was Reich 
Chancellor instead of the upstart rebel he had been in 1923. 

Neither in Bavaria nor in any other Land had there been the 
slightest resistance to the appointment of the Reich Commissars. Hitler 
was thus finally able to issue the triumphant proclamation which was 
still outstanding to his adherents on March 10: 123 

Party Comrades! Men of the SA and SS! 

A tremendous upheaval has taken place in Germany! It is the fruit of the 
most difficult of struggles, the most dogged persistence, and of the utmost 
discipline. 

Unprincipled characters, mostly Communist spies, are attempting to 
compromise the Party with individual actions which are not in any way related 
to the great task of the national uprising and can only damage and belittle the 
accomplishments of our Movement. In particular, there are attempts to bring 
about a conflict between the Party, or Germany, and foreign countries by 
harassing foreigners in cars flying foreign flags. Men of the SA and SS! You must 
apprehend such creatures yourselves immediately and call them to account for 
their actions; you must turn them over to the police without delay, regardless of 
who they may be. 

As of today, the National Government has the executive power over all of 
Germany in its hands. This means that the national uprising will continue to be 
carried out methodically and under control from above. Only in instances when 
these orders meet with resistance or when, as was the case in the past, surprise 
ambushes are made on individual men or marching formations, should this 
resistance be immediately and thoroughly broken. Harassment of individuals, 
the obstruction of cars, and disruptions to business are to be put to an absolute 
stop. 

263 



March 10, 1933 

Comrades, you must make sure that the National Revolution of 1933 does 
not go down in history as a counterpart to the revolution of the Rucksack 
Spartakisten. 124 And one more thing: never let yourselves be distracted for one 
second from our watchword, which is the destruction of Marxism. 

Berlin, March 10, 1933 Adolf Hitler 

Hitler made reference in this proclamation to the Communist 
provocateurs who had allegedly infiltrated the SA. He was thus able to 
dismiss attacks led by party comrades or members of the SA as 
"Communist" disruptions. If it was not the Jews, then it was the 
Communists who were the source of all evil. 

On March 11, Hitler once more delivered a campaign speech, this 
time for the local election in Prussia scheduled for March 12. He spoke 
at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds and, after repeating his standard tirade 
against the Marxist parties, declared as follows: 125 

We have now been in power for six weeks, and in these six weeks we have 
driven the Germans onward to an enormous effort. And now we face a new 
election. This will be the last one for many years to come. It is no coincidence 
that, in these few weeks, unemployment in Germany has receded. It is the 
miracle of growing faith. The strength which Germany needs to survive its 
struggle for existence will return, and from this strength will come justice and 
honor and with them, one day, freedom. 

The German nation will find its way back to its own by combining its 
efforts; but we will bear one thing in mind: nothing in this world is free. And so 
we shall fight and work. 

Hitler began preparing the next step on his way to autocratic rule: 
the introduction of a new national flag — the swastika. In order to make 
the Reich President amenable to the breach of the Constitution which 
this entailed, 126 the black-white-red flag of the Empire had to be given 
equal status with the swastika, at least for the time being, as new Reich 
flags. As a gesture designed to express how much the National Socialists 
apparently respected the old black-white-red banner, on March 10 
Hitler issued the following order to the Party regarding the 
Volkstrauertag (Day of National Mourning) 127 two days later. 128 

As the soldiers of the old Army once gave their lives for the black- white-red 
flag of the old German Reich, we wish to honor them on this day by allowing 
only this flag, which was their banner then, to fly from all the public buildings 
of the Reich. It is the flag of the old Army and the World War. 

Our swastika is the flag of the National Revolution and the national 
uprising. 

Berlin, March 10, 1933 Adolf Hitler 

264 



March 12, 1933 

The expression "national uprising" (nationale Erhebung) was now 
replaced by the more colorful "National Revolution" as the official 
term. Later, this was in turn to become the "National Socialist 
Revolution." 

At the activities held on the Volkstrauertag in Berlin on March 12 
(memorial performance at the National Opera, laying wreaths at the 
war memorial Unter den Linden, and a marching salute of the 
Reichswehr), Hitler, in a pose of deepest reverence, consistently gave 
precedence to the Reich President. He had every reason to be grateful to 
Hindenburg, who had actually penned his signature on the decree 
promoting the swastika and the black-white-red flag to national flags. 

At the close of the ceremonies, Hitler made the following radio 
announcement to his party comrades and the German Volk, issuing this 
decree which, to many, came as a great surprise: 129 

On behalf of the Reich President I announce to the German Volk the 
following decree of the Reich President: 

'On this day, on which the old black- white-red flag flies at half mast 
throughout Gennany in honor of our war dead, I hereby decree that, from 
tomorrow onwards and until the question of the Reich colors has been 
definitively settled, the black-white-red and the swastika flag are to be hoisted 
jointly. These two flags unite the glorious past of the German Empire with the 
powerful renaissance of the German nation. United shall they personify the 
power of the State and the inner solidarity of all the national circles within the 
German Volk. The military buildings will hoist only the Reich war ensign. 

Berlin, March 12, 1933 The Reich President: von Hindenburg' 

With this decree, the Reich President has, of his own doing, directed that, 
until a definite decision has been made, the flag of the national uprising shall fly 
henceforth on the public buildings and buildings of state — side by side with our 
memorable, honorable and traditional flag, the flag of the German Empire. 

National Socialists who are listening to me in this hour, men of the SA and 
SS! 

Thus this marriage constitutes visible external evidence of the triumph of 
the National Revolution. It must fill all of us in this historic hour, when we have 
just returned from ceremonies for our dead comrades, with both a feeling of 
deep gratitude for the magnanimous decision of the Field Marshal, and with 
proud satisfaction. 

Our fourteen-year struggle for power has now come to its visible, symbolic 
close. Now it is up to us to make sure that, from now on, this power can no 
longer be shaken by any means whatsoever. 

As your Fiihrer, and on behalf of the Government of the National 
Revolution, I hereby call upon you to support the honor and thus the dignity 
of the new regime in the manner required to ensure that it will also one day 
prevail in German history with honor and dignity. And this day, the day on 

265 



March 12, 1933 

which all executive power was passed to the hands of national Germany in a 
symbolic sense as well, marks the beginning of the second stage of our fight. 

From now on the struggle for purging the Reich and establishing order in it 
will be methodical and controlled from above. 

Thus I command you to exercise the strictest and blindest discipline from 
now on. There must be no more isolated operations from now on. Only in 
those instances when the enemies of our national uprising resist our statutory 
decrees with force or any of our men or our marching formations are assaulted 
shall the resistance of these elements be immediately and most thoroughly 
broken. But now it is our task to give the entire German Volk and also, above 
all, our economy the feeling of unconditional security. Whoever attempts from 
now on to disrupt our administration or business life by staging isolated 
operations is consciously attacking the National Government. Today we are 
responsible for the Reich, because it has been delivered into our hands. 

My party comrades! 

You have fought in fourteen years of struggle for the Germany which is 
now coming into being. Today the flag of this struggle has received the sanction 
of the State. But it is also evidence of how far your discipline and subordination 
has led us. It alone can now lead us onwards. Our triumph is so great that we 
are incapable of harboring petty vindictiveness. Should the enemies of the 
national uprising attempt any type of resistance, then the will of the 
Government of the National Revolution will instantly force it to its knees, and 
you will receive the orders. 

Beware of the provocateurs and spies from the Communist Party, who, 
according to the proof we have available today, have been sent to infiltrate our 
formations! 

Thanks to the insight we have now gained into the doings of this band of 
organized criminals, we will nevertheless eliminate them within the shortest 
space of time in any case. And I wish to couple my command that the purity and 
thus the honor of our national uprising be protected with my thanks to you for 
the overwhelming loyalty, discipline and sacrifices which you have 
demonstrated and made until now. In a few short weeks, mainly by virtue of 
your efforts and your work, one of the greatest upheavals Germany has ever 
known has taken place. This will be made apparent to the German Volk by 
means of the decrees of the Reich Minister of the Interior, Dr. Frick, which I 
may hereby announce to the public: 

'In celebration of the triumph of the National Revolution, all public 
buildings of the Reich shall flag the colors ordered by the Reich President for 
three days, starting on Monday!' 

My party comrades! Long live the National Revolution, long live our dearly 
beloved German Volk and our proud German Reich! 

After this broadcast, Hitler flew to Munich and accepted the homage 
of the party formations which received him at the Oberwiesenfeld 
airport. It was the first time he was wearing a brown tunic. 

266 



March 12, 1933 

In reply to the welcoming address given by Reich Commissar 
General von Epp, Hitler stated: 130 

Fourteen years ago, it was here that I began the struggle, the first stage of 
which has now been completed. 

What centuries have longed for in Germany, but were never able to achieve, 
has now become reality: 

The Gleichschaltung of the political will of the Lander with the will of the 
nation has come to pass. 

It is our desire and our conviction to ensure with all our might that this will 
remain so from now on. 

I am happy that, this time, this historic event originated in the German 
South. This time the land of the Bavarians has once more professed its faith in 
German unity. 

In these past few days, Bavaria has taken its place in the great front of the 
awakening nation. 

The political prerequisites for the renaissance of Germany have now been 
created. 

Now it is time to combine our efforts for the task ahead. No one shall be 
able to hold us back, and I am certain that as a result of these efforts, one day, in 
addition to freedom, good fortune will return to the German Vaterland. 

We do not intend to rape the Lander, but rather, by our joint efforts and 
our coordinated will, we shall restore the German Lander in future to the 
position and station to which history and tradition entitles them. 

However, this is only possible if the German Lander are under the 
protection and shield of a united Reich. 

We have just arrived from the Reich capital. The Reich President has 
ordered that, in future, two flags shall wave over Germany: 

The old black-white-red flag of the glorious past and the swastika, the flag 
of our national uprising. Their community shall be a symbol for the restoration 
of our national power, which is personified here on the field in our unique 
Wehrmacht and our leagues. 

In them is growing the greatest community of the German people who want 
to join the ranks for the German Reich and its Lander! 

Following this speech, Hitler launched on a triumphal drive through 
the streets of Munich to the Feldherrnhalle. There he laid down a huge 
laurel wreath in memory of those killed in his 1923 putsch. The banner 
bore Hitler's dedication: 

"But you have triumphed in the end!" 

Hitler now had control of the entire executive branch of 
government. The police in all of the German Lander were at his 
command, and the larger Lander also had at their disposal a substantial 
number of standing police units quartered in barracks. These units were 
of a pronounced military character, being equipped not only with steel 

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March 12, 1933 

helmets and rifles, but also with machine guns and lightweight combat 
cars. At Hitler's orders, Goring now began to build a billeted Land Police, 
the likes of which had never before existed in this field. Its officers were 
dependable National Socialists. The troop was clad in gray-green uniforms, 
and the strength of its numbers and military equipment was soon so great 
that, were the Reichswehr ever to dare to launch a putsch against Hitler, it 
would have been able to effectively party such an attack. 131 

For his own personal protection, Hitler created the SS Leibstandarte 
Adolf Hitler, an elite military regiment composed of hand-picked SS 
men. This first Waffen SS unit, from which entire divisions and army 
corps were later to emerge, was placed under the command of SS 
Obergruppenfiihrer Sepp Dietrich 132 and stationed in Berlin- 
Lichterfelde with four batallions. The Leibstandarte subsequently took 
the place of the guards who had hitherto been recruited for the Reich 
Chancellor from the ranks of the police or the Reichswehr. 

At the same time, Hitler set about reinforcing National Socialist 
influence in the Reich Cabinet. On January 30, he had given his word 
of honor that this cabinet would stay together for all time and never 
undergo any changes. He had actually been serious, for he believed 
himself quite capable, by persistent persuasion, of making dedicated 
National Socialists of these ministers. 

There was much talk in the period from 1933 to 1945 — and prior 
thereto— about the so-called National Socialist Weltanschauung. A 
number of Hitler's Unterfiihrers, among them Alfred Rosenberg 133 and 
Heinrich Himmler, made an honest effort to institute a type of National 
Socialist religion, a revival of the Nordic-Germanic Wotan cult, etc. 
However, these efforts produced few tangible results. 134 

Hitler left Rosenberg and Himmler to their own ways, but only 
because their missionary activities constituted a means for inciting 
people to rid themselves of their previous religious ties. In essence, 
though, he regarded these actions as mere nonsense. It was his belief that 
anyone was a dedicated National Socialist who was willing to sanction 
everything the Fiihrer said, even if it was the exact opposite of what 
Hitler had proclaimed at an earlier date. 

Since Hitler had acceded to power, it no longer required any effort 
to instill this view in his subordinates as well as his ministers. The 
submissiveness to authority which characterized German thinking made 
it quite normal for the majority of citizens to agree with whatever the 
Government or the Chancellor said, unless they were influenced to 
judge otherwise by some institution or another, such as the Church. 

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March 13, 1933 

However, Hitler was not prepared to accept this type of 'dedicated' 
National Socialist in his cabinet. There he needed reliable, 'tried and 
true' National Socialists, i.e. those who had proven themselves during 
the period of domestic struggle and at that time had already accepted 
Hitler's word as law, even when appearances were against him. 

Goring and Frick were two such reliable National Socialists. On 
March 13, Hitler persuaded Hindenburg to appoint a further reliable 
National Socialist, namely Dr. Joseph Goebbels, to a ministerial post. 
He was given the newly created Reich Ministry of Public 
Enlightenment and Propaganda, which was to preside mainly over the 
press, radio, and film. Goebbels believed himself to be an expert in 
cultural matters and would have preferred the post of Minister of 
Popular Culture, 135 but Hitler rightly judged him less capable in that 
field and chose instead to later appoint 136 the National Socialist 
Studienrat (secondary school teacher) Bernhard Rust to head the newly 
formed Reich Ministry of Science, Education and Popular Culture. 

Another loyal subject during the time of struggle had been Dr. 
Hjalmar Schacht. It was Hitler's desire that he reassume the office of 
Reichsbank President, and it took little effort to persuade the former 
President Dr. Hans Luther 137 to resign on March 16: he was appointed 
Ambassador to Washington in exchange. However, this evoked a 
negative echo from abroad, for an international convention in force at 
the time prescribed that the Reichsbank was under the immediate 
control not of the government, but of a board of directors, which had 
not been approached for its consent to the appointment. 

Therefore, on March 20, Hitler issued the following statement to the 
press in Berlin regarding Dr. Luther's resignation: 138 

In parts of the press, the news of the resignation of the former Reichsbank 
President, Dr. Luther, has been accompanied by editorial comments which are 
not supported by the facts. Dr. Luther's resignation took place within the course 
of the overall restructuring presently taking place. It was effected at his own 
request, due to the fact that the Reich, in and of itself, would in no way have 
been able to prompt the resignation of the Reichsbank President. 

Dr. Luther himself made no reference to these international conventions, 
but rather explicitly stated that, despite them, German interests and thus the 
German Government were his sole guiding authority. The conference with Dr. 
Luther was therefore marked by an extraordinary loyalty to the Government on 
the part of the retiring Reichsbank President. 

On March 20, Hitler procured the consent of his entire cabinet to the 
Enabling Act. On the same day he twice issued guidelines prescribing 

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March 20, 1933 

the conduct to be adopted by the Gauleiters and the National Socialist 
deputies in the Reichstag and the Landtag in the forthcoming sessions of 
parliament. He made two separate speeches before the two groups in 
Berlin. 139 

The first session of the Reichstag was to be opened on March 21 in 
the garrison church in Potsdam. Hitler had chosen the first day of spring 
for its symbolic value, i.e. as the beginning of a new spring for the 
German Volk. An added reason was that the first Reichstag of the 
Prussian German Empire had also been opened on March 21. 140 
"Potsdam Day" was the first of many 'national' holidays bestowed upon 
the German Volk until 1945, each of which was, as a rule, accompanied 
by impressive ceremonial pomp. 

Potsdam Day began with services in the Lutheran Nikolai Church 
and the Catholic parish church. In the latter, a special armchair had been 
installed in front of the altar for the Catholic Chancellor Adolf Hitler. 
However, he chose not to attend, visiting instead the graves of National 
Socialist soldiers with Goebbels. 

This snub to the Catholic clergy was not motivated by religious 
considerations. In the initial years of his rule, Hitler occasionally 
attended Catholic services, e.g. the requiem for the deceased Polish 
Marshal Pilsudski in the Hedwig Cathedral in Berlin in 1935. Hitler's 
absence on March 21 was designed to teach the Catholic Church once 
and for all that it should comply with his wishes in future and pose no 
obstacles to the reorganization of Germany. 

It was in this sense that Hitler issued the following official 



The Catholic Bishops of Germany have, in the most recent past, issued a 
number of announcements which the Catholic priesthood has put into practice 
and according to which leaders and members of the National Socialist German 
Workers' Party have been described as deserters of the Church who, as such, are 
barred from receiving the sacraments. These announcements have not been 
retracted to date, and the Catholic priesthood continues to adhere to the practice 
prescribed therein. 

Thus the Chancellor, much to his disappointment, does not feel in a position 
to be able to attend the Catholic service in Potsdam. During the official services, 
the Chancellor, accompanied by the Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and 
Propaganda, Dr. Goebbels, to whom the same applies, visited the graves of his 
murdered SA comrades at the Luisenstadt Cemetery in Berlin. He laid a wreath 
on the graves with the inscription: "To my dead comrades." 

The ceremonious act of state commenced at noon in the garrison 
church whose crypt contained the remains of the Prussian Kings 

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March 20, 1933 

Frederick William I and Frederick the Great. The church bells played 
the melody "Ub immer Treu and Redlichkeit. " 

Thus it would seem that Hitler was carrying on the best of German 
traditions and virtues. The Prussian spirit of Frederick the Great and the 
military tradition of the Kaiser, symbolized by Reich President von 
Hindenburg in his Marshal's uniform, gave their blessings to the new 
Germany as personified in Hitler. 

Only Reichstag members of the right-wing parties, the Center (with 
the Bavarian People's Party), and the splinter parties were seated inside 
the church. The Social Democratic deputies had refused to take part in 
the ceremony. The rest of the church was well filled with prominent 
public figures, among them Crown Prince Wilhelm, Field Marshal von 
Mackensen, Colonel General von Seeckt, and others. 

Hindenburg turned the rostrum over to Hitler after his own speech, 
and the Chancellor, attired in a festive cutaway coat, delivered the 
following address: 142 

Herr Reichsprasident! Deputies, Ladies and Gentlemen of the German 
Reichstag! 

For years our Volk has borne a heavy burden. 

After a period of proud uprising, of rich blossoming and flourishing in every 
area of our life, now — as so often in the past — need and poverty have again come 
upon us. 

Despite industriousness and the will to work, despite drive, wide knowledge 
and the best of intentions, millions of Germans today are trying in vain to earn 
their daily bread. The economy is desolate, finances are shattered, millions are 
without work. The world knows only the deceptive outer appearance of our 
cities; it does not see the wretchedness and the misery. 

For the last two thousand years these changing fortunes of fate have 
accompanied our Volk. Again and again ascent has been followed by decay. The 
causes have always been the same. The German is a victim of internal decay: 
divided of spirit, fragmented of will and thus powerless to act, he becomes too 
weak to assert his own life. He dreams of justice written in the stars and loses his 
footing on earth. 

But the more Volk and Reich have become divided and thus the protection 
and shield of national life weakened, all the more constant has been the attempt 
to make a virtue out of necessity. The theory of the separate values of our tribes 
suppressed the realization of the necessity of a joint will. In the end, the 
Germans were left only with the path leading inwards. As a Volk of singers, 
poets and philosophers, it dreamed of a world in which the others lived, and 
only when it was inhumanly defeated by need and misery did there spring, 
perhaps from the arts, the yearning for a new Erhebung, for a new Reich and 
thus for a new life. 

When Bismarck allowed the cultural aspirations of the German nation to be 
followed by political unification, it seemed to signify an end to the long period 

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March 20, 1933 

of discord and internal war between the German tribes for all time. True to the 
proclamation of the Kaiser, our Volk participated in multiplying the values of 
peace, culture, and human ethos. It has never detached the feeling of its strength 
from a deeply felt responsibility for the community life of the European 
nations. 

During this period when the German tribes were unified in terms of both 
politics and power, the dissolution of the Weltanschauung of the German 
Volksgemeinschaft set in which we are still suffering from today. And this 
internal disintegration of the nation once again became, as has so often been the 
case, the ally of the world around us. The November 1918 Revolution marked 
the end of a struggle which the German nation had taken up in the most sacred 
conviction that it was protecting only its freedom and thus its right to exist. 

For neither the Kaiser, nor the Government, nor the Volk wanted that war. 
It was only the disintegration of the nation, the universal collapse which 
compelled a weak generation, against its better judgment and against its most 
sacred inner conviction, to accept the allegation of war guilt. 

However, this collapse was followed by disintegration in every sector. Our 
Volk sank lower and lower in terms of political power, morals, culture, and 
economy. 

The worst thing was the conscious destruction of belief in one's own 
strength, the disgracing of our traditions, and thus the annihilation of the basic 
principles of a firm trust. 

Since then, our Volk has been shattered by crises without end. 

But the rest of the world has not become happier or richer either by 
politically and economically dislodging one of the major components of its 
community of states. The utter folly of the theory of eternal victors and 
vanquished gave birth to the utter absurdity of reparations and, as a 
consequence, the disastrous state of the world's economy. 

While the German Volk and the German Reich thus became mired in 
internal political conflict and discord and the economy drifted into ruin, a new 
group of Germans gathered, Germans who, with faithful trust in their own 
Volk, wished to form it into a new community. 

It was to this young Germany that you, Herr Generalfeldmarschall, 
entrusted the leadership of the Reich in your magnanimous decision of January 
30, 1933. 

In the conviction that the German Volk should also give its consent to the 
New Order of German life, we men of this National Government addressed a 
final appeal to the German nation. 

On March 5, the Volk made its decision and the majority gave us their vote. 
In a unique Erhebung, it has restored the national honor within a few short 
weeks and, thanks to your understanding, Herr Reichsprasident, consummated 
the marriage between the symbols of old glory and young strength. 

When the National Government now, in this solemn hour, makes its first 
appearance before the new Reichstag, at the same time it professes its unshakable 
will to take on the great task of reorganizing the German Volk and the Reich 
and to carry through this task with determination. 

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March 20, 1933 

With the knowledge that it is acting in accordance with the will of the 
nation, the National Government expects the parties in parliament, after fifteen 
years of German misery, to rise above the confines of a doctrinaire, party- 
oriented way of thinking and submit to the iron rule imposed upon us all by this 
misery and its imminent consequences. 

For the task which Fate requires of us must rise to tower above the scope 
and basic nature of the petty substitutes of day-to-day politics. 

We want to restore the unity of spirit and will to the German nation! 

We want to preserve the everlasting foundations of our life: our Volkstum 
and the energies and values inherent therein. 

We want to subordinate the organization and leadership of our State once 
more to those basic principles which have been the prerequisites for the glory of 
people and nations at all times. 

We want to combine a confidence in the basic principles of our way of life — 
which are healthy because they are natural and right — with a consistency of 
political development at home and abroad. 

We want to replace eternal indecision by the steadfastness of a government 
which shall thus once more give to our Volk an unshakable authority. 

We want to take into consideration all the experiences — in both individual 
and community life as well as in our economy — which have proven useful to the 
welfare of the people in the course of millenniums. 

We want to restore the primacy of a policy destined to organize and lead the 
nation's struggle for existence. 

But we also want to include all of the truly living powers of the Volk as the 
supporting elements of the German future; we want to make a sincere effort to 
unite those with good intentions and ensure that those who attempt to injure 
the German Volk receive their due. 

We want to rebuild a different community from the German tribes, from 
the stations, professions, and classes which have existed until now. This 
community shall have the ability to bring about the just balance of vital interests 
demanded by the future of the entire Volk. Peasants, bourgeoisie, and workers 
must once more unite to become one German Volk. 

This Volk shall then for all eternity act as custodian of our faith and our 
culture, our honor and our freedom. 

To the world, however, in justice to the victims of the War, we wish to be 
sincere friends of a peace which shall ultimately heal the wounds with which all 
are afflicted. 

The Government of the national uprising is determined to fulfill the task it 
has assumed before the German Volk. Thus it is addressing the German 
Reichstag today in the fervent hope of finding in it a support for the 
implementation of its mission. May you, Ladies and Gentlemen, recognize the 
meaning of these times as elected representatives of the Volk in order that you 
may contribute to the great task of our new national uprising. 

We have today a hoary head in our midst. We salute you, Herr 
Generalf eldmarschall . 

Three times you have fought on the battlefield of honor for the existence 
and the future of our Volk. 

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March 20, 1933 

As a lieutenant in the Royal Army, you fought for German unity; in the 
armies of the old German Kaiser for the glorious creation of the Reich; and in 
the greatest war of all times as our Field Marshal for the continued existence of 
the Reich and for the freedom of our Volk. 

You were there to witness the evolution of the Reich, you saw before you 
the work of the Great Chancellor, the miraculous ascent of our Volk, and you 
have finally led us during the great age which Fate has allowed us to witness and 
fight in. 

Today, Herr Generalfeldmarschall, Providence has given you the privilege 
of being the patron of the new Erhebung of our Volk. And this, your wondrous 
life, is for us all a symbol of the indestructible vitality of the German nation. 
Thus the youth of the German Volk and all of us who perceive your consent to 
the task of the German uprising to be a blessing may thank you. May this power 
also communicate itself to the new representation of our Volk now opened. 

And may Providence also bestow upon us the courage and the persistence 
which we sense all about us in this place hallow to every German, as humans 
fighting for the freedom and glory of our Volk at the feet of the bier of its 
greatest King. 

After Hindenburg had laid wreaths on the sarcophagi of the 
Prussian Kings, a parade of Reichswehr formations and national leagues 
(SA, SS, Stahlhelm, etc.) marched through the streets and past 
Hindenburg for several hours. Hitler and his ministers stood modestly 
a few rows behind the military guests of honor. 

Only at 5:00 p.m. did the initial session of the new Reichstag 
commence in the temporary parliament building, the old Kroll Opera 
House in Berlin. Although Hitler despised parliamentarism, he donned 
his best behavior and took his place as an NSDAP deputy with the 
others. He joined in electing the Reichstag Presidium, which was 
composed of Goring as President, Esser as Vice President (Center), 
Graef (DNVP), and Zorner (NSDAP). 

The logistics of constituting the assembly were settled quickly. The 
next session on March 23 commenced with a statement of policy 
delivered by Hitler and the presentation of the "Law for Removing the 
Distress of People and Reich" 143 for passage. Hitler had proposed this so- 
called "Enabling Act" in his correspondence with Otto Meissner as early 
as November 1932 144 as the only possibility of ruling out that the 
Reichstag might reverse emergency decrees. 

In future, the Reich Government was to be authorized to 
promulgate laws on its own authority (Article 1). The Reich President 
no longer even drew up the bills; the Reich Chancellor was also to 
assume this job in future (Article 3). 

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March 23, 1933 

Thus the Reichstag and the Reich President were, for all practical 
purposes, eliminated for four years. But not only that: the laws passed 
by the Reich Government were allowed to deviate from the 
Constitution "to the extent that they do not concern the institutions of 
the Reichstag or Reichsrat as such. The rights of the Reich President 
shall remain inviolate" (Article 2). 

Hitler had made a fine distinction between the Reichstag and the 
Reichsrat on the one hand and the Reich President on the other. The 
institutions of the Reichstag and the Reichsrat were to be preserved 
(although now that the National Socialist Lander Governments had 
been established, the Reichsrat no longer exercised any restraining 
function). However, there were no guarantees provided to secure the 
office of Reich President anchored in the Constitution, the election 
procedure, or the question of representation in case of incapacity or 
death — merely the rights were to remain inviolate. 

This fine distinction was to have grave consequences, particularly in 
light of the certainly imminent death of the 85-year-old Reich President. 
Hitler was authorized to simply assume the powers of the Reich 
President which thus did, in fact, remain "inviolate." 

Clad in a uniform and brown shirt, Hitler submitted the following 
policy statement on the Enabling Act to the Reichstag on March 23 : 145 

Ladies and Gentlemen of the German Reichstag! 

By agreement with the Reich Government, today the National Socialist 
German Workers' Party and the German National People's Party have 
presented to you for resolution a notice of motion concerning a "Law for 
Removing the Distress of Volk and Reich." The reasons for this extraordinary 
measure are as follows: 

In November 1918, the Marxist organizations seized the executive power by 
means of a Revolution. The monarchs were dethroned, the authorities of Reich 
and Lander removed from office, and thus a breach of the Constitution was 
committed. The success of the revolution in a material sense protected these 
criminals from the grips of justice. They sought moral justification by asserting 
that Germany or its government bore the guilt for the outbreak of the War. 

This assertion was deliberately and objectively untrue. In consequence, 
however, these false accusations in the interest of our former enemies led to the 
severest oppression of the entire German Volk, and the violation of the 
assurances given to us in Wilson's Fourteen Points then led to a time of 
boundless misfortune for Germany, that is to say the working German Volk. 

All the promises made by the men of November 1918 proved to be, if not acts 
of intentional deception, then no less damnable illusions. The "achievements of 
the Revolution" were, taken in their entirety, agreeable for only the 

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March 23, 1933 

smallest of fractions of our Volk, but for the overwhelming majority, at least 
insofar as these people were forced to earn their daily bread by honest work, 
they were infinitely sad. It is understandable that the survival instinct of those 
parties and men guilty of this development invents a thousand euphemisms and 
excuses. An objective comparison of the average outcome of the last fourteen 
years with the promises once proclaimed is a crushing indictment of the 
responsible architects of this crime unparalleled in German history. 

In the course of the past fourteen years, our Volk has suffered deterioration 
in all sectors of life, which could inconceivably have been greater. The question 
as to what, if anything, could have been worse than in these times is a question 
which cannot be answered in light of the basic values of our German Volk as 
well as the political and economic inheritance which once existed. 

In spite of its lack of mobility in political feelings and positions, the German 
Volk itself has increasingly turned away from concepts, parties, and associations 
which, in its eyes, are responsible for these conditions. 

The number of Germans who inwardly supported the Weimar Constitution 
in spite of the suggestive significance and ruthless exploitation of the executive 
power dwindled, in the end, to a mere fraction of the entire nation. 

Another typical characteristic of these fourteen years was the fact that — 
apart from natural fluctuations — the curve of developments has shown a 
constant decline. This depressing realization was one of the causes of the general 
state of despair. It served to promote the insight into the necessity of thoroughly 
rejecting the ideas, organizations, and men in which one gradually and rightly 
began to recognize the underlying causes of our decay. 

The National Socialist Movement was thus able, in spite of the most 
horrible oppression, to convert increasing numbers of Germans in terms of 
spirit and will to defensive action. Now, in association with the other national 
leagues, it has eliminated the powers which have been ruling since November 
1918 within a few short weeks and, by means of a revolution, transferred public 
authority to the hands of the National Government. On March 5, the German 
Volk gave its approval to this action. 

The program for the reconstruction of the Volk and the Reich is determined 
by the magnitude of the distress crippling our political, moral and economic life. 
Filled with the conviction that the causes of this collapse lie in internal damage 
to the body of our Volk, the Government of the National Revolution aims to 
eliminate the afflictions from our volkisch life which would, in future, continue 
to foil any real recovery. The disintegration of the nation into irreconcilably 
opposite Weltanschauungen which was systematically brought about by the 
false doctrines of Marxism means the destruction of the basis for any possible 
community life. 

The dissolution permeates all of the basic principles of social order. The 
completely opposite approaches of the individuals to the concepts of state, society, 
religion, morality, family, and economy rips open differences which will lead to a 
war of all against all. Starting with the liberalism of the past century, this 
development will end, as the laws of nature dictate, in Communist chaos. 

The mobilization of the most primitive instincts leads to a link between the 
concepts of a political theory and the actions of real criminals. Beginning with 

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March 23, 1933 

pillaging, arson, raids on the railway, assassination attempts, and so on— all these 
things are morally sanctioned by Communist theory. Alone the method of 
individuals terrorizing the masses has cost the National Socialist Movement 
more than 350 dead and tens of thousands of injured within the course of a few 
years. 

The burning of the Reichstag, one unsuccessful attempt within a large-scale 
operation, is only a taste of what Europe would have to expect from a triumph 
of this demonical doctrine. When a certain press, particularly outside Germany, 
today attempts, true to the political lie advanced to a principle by Communism, 
to link Germany's national uprising to this disgraceful act, this can only serve to 
strengthen my resolve to leave no stone unturned in order to avenge this crime 
as quickly as possible by having the guilty arsonist and his accomplices publicly 
executed! 

Neither the German Volk nor the rest of the world has become sufficiently 
conscious of the entire scope of the operation planned by this organization. 
Only by means of its immediate action was the Government able to ward off a 
development which would have shaken all of Europe had it proceeded to its 
disastrous end. Several of those who fraternize with the interests of 
Communism both within and outside of Germany, motivated by hatred for the 
national uprising, would themselves have become victims of such a 
development. 

It will be the utmost goal of the National Government to stamp out and 
eliminate every trace of this phenomenon, not only in the interest of Germany, 
but in the interest of the rest of Europe. 

It will not lose sight of the realization that, in doing so, it is not the negative 
problem of this organization with which it is dealing, but rather the 
implementation of the positive task of winning the German worker for the 
National State. Only the creation of a real Volksgemeinschaft, rising above the 
interests and conflicts of Stande und Klassen, is capable of permanently removing 
the source of nourishment of these aberrations of the human mind. The 
establishment of such a solidarity in Weltanschauung in the body of the German 
politic is all the more important, for only this will make it possible to maintain 
friendly relations with the non-German powers without regard to the tendencies 
or Weltanschauungen to which they are subject, for the elimination of 
Communism in Germany is a purely domestic German affair. It should be in the 
interests of the rest of the world as well, for the outbreak of Communist chaos 
in the densely populated German Reich would lead to political and economic 
consequences particularly in the rest of western Europe, the proportions of 
which are unfathomable. The inner disintegration of our Volksgemeinschaft 
inevitably resulted in an increasingly alarming weakening of the authority of the 
highest levels of leadership. The sinking reputation of the Reich Government — 
which is the inevitable product of unstable domestic conditions of this type — led 
to ideas on the part of various parties in the individual Lander which are 
incompatible with the unity of the Reich. The greatest consideration for the 
traditions of the Lander cannot erase the bitter realization that the extent of the 
fragmentation of national life in the past was not only not beneficial, but 
positively injurious to the world and life status of our Volk. 

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March 23, 1933 

It is not the task of a superior national leadership to subsequently surrender 
what has grown organically to the theoretical principle of an unrestrained 
unitarianization. But it is its duty to raise the unity of spirit and will of the 
leadership of the nation and thus the concept of the Reich as such beyond all 
shadow of a doubt. 

The welfare of our communities and Lander — as well as the existence of each 
German individual — must be protected by the State. Therefore the Reich 
Government does not intend to dissolve the Lander by means of the Enabling 
Act. However, it will institute measures which will guarantee the continuity of 
political intention in the Reich and Lander from now on and for all time. The 
greater the consensus of spirit and will, the lesser the interest of the Reich for all 
time in violating the independent cultural and economic existence of the 
separate Lander. The present habit of the Governments of the Lander and the 
Reich of mutually belittling each other, making use of the modern means of 
public propaganda, is completely outrageous. I will under no circumstances 
tolerate — and the Reich Government will resolve all measures to combat — the 
spectacle of ministers of German Governments attacking or belittling each other 
before the world in mass meetings or even with the aid of public radio 
broadcasts. 

It also results in a complete invalidation of the legislative bodies in the eyes 
of the Volk when, even assuming normal times, the Volk is driven to the polls 
in the Reich or in the individual Lander almost twenty times in the course of 
four years. The Reich Government will find the way to ensure that the 
expression of the will of the nation, once given, leads to uniform consequences 
for both the Reich and the Lander. 

A further reform of the Reich will only ensue from ongoing developments. 
Its aim must be to design a constitution which ties the will of the Volk to the 
authority of a genuine leadership. The statutory legalization of this reform of 
the Constitution will be granted to the Volk itself. 

The Government of the National Revolution basically regards it as its duty, 
in accordance with the spirit of the Volk's vote of confidence, to prevent the 
elements which consciously and intentionally negate the life of the nation from 
exercising influence on its formation. The theoretical concept of equality before 
the law shall not be used, under the guise of equality, to tolerate those who 
despise the laws as a matter of principle or, moreover, to surrender the freedom 
of the nation to them on the basis of democratic doctrines. The Government 
will, however, grant equality before the law to all those who, in forming the 
front of our Volk against this danger, support national interests and do not deny 
the Government their assistance. 

Our next task, in any case, is to call upon the spiritual leaders of these 
destructive tendencies to answer for themselves and at the same time to rescue 
the victims of their seduction. 

In particular, we perceive in the millions of German workers who pay 
homage to these ideas of madness and self destruction only the results of an 
unforgivable weakness on the part of former governments who failed to put a stop 
to the dissemination of these ideas, the practical implementation of which they 
were forced to punish. The Government will not allow itself to be shaken by 

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March 23, 1933 

anyone in its decision to solve this problem. Now it is the responsibility of the 
Reichstag to adopt a clear standpoint for its part. This will change nothing as to 
the fate of Communism and the other organizations fraternizing with it. In its 
measures, the National Government is guided by no other factor than 
preserving the German Volk, and in particular the mass of millions making up 
its working populace, from unutterable misery. 

Thus it views the matter of restoring the monarchy as out of the question at 
present in light of the very existence of these circumstances. It would be forced 
to regard any attempt to solve this problem on the part of the individual Lander 
as an attack on the legal entity of the Reich and take respective action. 

Simultaneously with this political purification of our public life, the Reich 
Government intends to undertake a thorough moral purging of the German 
Volkskorper. The entire system of education, the theater, the cinema, literature, 
the press, and radio— they all will be used as a means to this end and valued 
accordingly. They must all work to preserve the eternal values residing in the 
essential character of our Volk. Art will always remain the expression and 
mirror of the yearning and the reality of an era. The cosmopolitan 
contemplative attitude is rapidly disappearing. Heroism is arising passionately as 
the future shaper and leader of political destinies. The task of art is to give 
expression to this determining spirit of the age. Blut and Rasse will once more 
become the source of artistic intuition. The task of the government, particularly 
in an age of limited political power, is to ensure that the internal value of life and 
the will of the nation to live are given that much more monumental artistic 
expression in culture. This resolve entails the obligation to grateful appreciation 
of our great past. The gap between this past and the future must be bridged in 
all sectors of our historical and cultural life. Reverence for the Great Men must 
be instilled once more in German youth as a sacred inheritance. In being 
determined to undertake the political and moral purification of our public life, 
the government is creating and securing the requirements for a genuinely 
profound return to religious life. 

The advantages in personnel policy which might result from compromises 
with atheist organizations do not come close to offsetting the results which 
would become apparent in the general destruction of basic moral values. 

The National Government perceives in the two Christian confessions the 
most important factors for the preservation of our Volkstum. It will respect any 
contracts concluded between these Churches and the Lander. 

Their rights are not to be infringed upon. But the Government expects and 
hopes that the task of working on the national and moral regeneration of our Volk 
taken on by the Government will, in turn, be treated with the same respect. 

It will face all of the other confessions with objective fairness. However, it 
cannot tolerate that membership in a certain confession or a certain race could 
mean being released from general statutory obligations or even constitute a 
license for committing or tolerating crimes which go unpunished. The 
Government's concern lies in an honest coexistence between Church and State; 
the fight against a materialist Weltanschauung and for a genuine 
Volksgemeinschaft equally serves both the interests of the German nation and 
the welfare of our Christian faith. 

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March 23, 1933 

Our legal institutions must above all work to preserve this 
Volksgemeinschaft. The irremovability of the judges on the one hand must 
ensure a flexibility in their judgments for the welfare of society on the other. 
Not the individual but the Volk as a whole must be the focal point of legislative 
efforts. In future, high treason and betrayal of the Volk (Landes- und Volksverrat) 
will be ruthlessly eradicated. The foundations on which the judiciary is based 
can be none other than the foundations on which the nation is based. Thus may 
the judiciary always take into consideration the difficult burden of decision 
carried by those who bear the responsibility for shaping the life of the nation 
under the harsh dictates of reality. 

Great are the tasks of the National Government in the sphere of economic 
life. 

Here all action shall be governed by one law: the Volk does not live for the 
economy, and the economy does not exist for capital, but capital serves the 
economy and the economy serves the Volk! 

In principle, the Government protects the economic interests of the 
German Volk not by taking the roundabout way through an economic 
bureaucracy to be organized by the State, but by the utmost promotion of 
private initiative and a recognition of the rights of property. 

A fair balance must be established between productive intention on the one 
hand and productive work on the other. The administration should respect the 
results of ability, industriousness and work by being thrifty. The problem of our 
public finances is also a problem which is, in no small part, the problem of a 
thrifty administration. 

The proposed reform of our tax system must result in a simplification in 
assessment and thus to a decrease in costs and charges. In principle, the tax mill 
should be built downstream and not at the source. As a consequence of these 
measures, the simplification of the administration will certainly result in a 
decrease in the tax burden. This reform of the tax system which is to be 
implemented in the Reich and the Lander is not, however, an overnight matter, 
but one to be contemplated when the time is judged to be right. 

As a matter of principle, the Government will avoid currency experiments. 

We are faced above all with two economic tasks of the first order. The 
salvation of the German peasant must be achieved at all costs. 

The annihilation of this class in our Volk would bring with it the most severe 
consequences imaginable. The restoration of the profitability of the agricultural 
operations may be hard on the consumer. But the fate which would descend 
upon the entire German Volk should the German peasant perish would stand no 
comparison with these hardships. Only in connection with the profitability of 
our agriculture which must be achieved at all costs can the problems of stays of 
execution or debt relief be solved. Were this to prove unsuccessful, the 
annihilation of our peasants would inevitably lead not only to the collapse of the 
German economy per se, but above all to the collapse of the German Volkskorper. 
The maintenance of its health is, however, the first requirement for the 
blossoming and flourishing of our industry, German domestic trade, and the 
German export industry. Without the counterweight of the German peasantry, 
Communist madness would already have overrun Germany by now and thus 

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March 23, 1933 

conclusively destroyed the German economy. What the entire economy, 
including our export industry, owes to the healthy common sense of the 
German peasant cannot be compensated by any kind of sacrifice in terms of 
business. Thus our greatest attention must be devoted to the further settlement 
of German land in future. 

Furthermore, it is perfectly clear to the National Government that the 
removal of the distress in both agricultural and urban economy is contingent 
upon the integration of the army of unemployed in the process of production. 

This constitutes the second and most monumental economic task. It can be 
solved only by a general pacification in implementing sound natural economic 
principles and all measures necessary, even if, at the time, they cannot expect to 
enjoy any degree of popularity. The creation of jobs and compulsory labor 
service are, in this connection, only isolated measures within the scope of the 
offensive as a whole. 

The attitude of the National Government toward the Mittelstand is similar 
to its attitude toward the German peasants. 

Its salvation can only be effected within the scope of general economic 
policy. The National Government is determined to find a far-reaching solution 
to this problem. It recognizes its historical task of supporting and promoting the 
millions of German workers in their struggle for their rights to exist. As 
Chancellor and National Socialist, I feel allied to them as the former companions 
of my youth. The increase in the consumer power of these masses will constitute 
a substantial means of reviving the economy. While maintaining our social 
legislation, the first step to its reform must be taken. In principle, however, 
every worker shall be utilized in the service of the public. The stagnation of 
millions of human working hours is madness and a crime which must inevitably 
lead to the impoverishment of all. Regardless of which values would have been 
created by the utilization of our surplus work force, for millions of people who 
today are going to waste in misery and distress, they could represent essential 
values of life. The organizational capabilities of our Volk must and will succeed 
in solving this problem. 

We know that the geographic position of Germany, with her lack of raw 
materials, does not fully permit Autarkie for our Reich. It cannot be stressed too 
often that nothing is further from the Reich Government's mind than hostility 
to exporting. We know that we need this connection with the world and that 
the sale of German goods in the world represents the livelihood of many 
millions of German Volksgenossen. 

But we also know the requirements for a sound exchange of services 
between the peoples of the earth. For years, Germany has been compelled to 
perform services without receiving counter-services. Consequently, the task of 
maintaining Germany as an active partner in the exchange of goods is less a 
question of commercial than of financial policy. As long as we are not accorded 
any settlement of our foreign debts which is fair and appropriate to our strength, 
we shall unfortunately be forced to maintain our foreign exchange control 
policy (Devisenzwangswirtschaft). For this reason, the Reich Government is also 
obligated to maintain the dam built against the flow of capital across the borders. 
If the Reich Government allows itself to be guided by these principles, 

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one can surely expect the growing understanding of the foreign countries to ease 
the integration of our Reich in the peaceful competition of the nations. 

The first step toward promoting transportation with the aim of achieving a 
reasonable balance of all transportation interests — a reform of the motor vehicle 
tax — will take place at the beginning of next month. The maintenance of the 
Reichsbahn and its reintegration under Reich authority, which is to be effected 
as quickly as possible, is a task which commits us not only in an economic, but 
also in a moral sense. The National Government will give every encouragement 
to the development of aviation as a means of peacefully connecting the peoples 
to one another. 

For all this activity, the Government requires the support not only of the 
general powers in our Volk, which it is determined to utilize to the furthest 
possible extent, but also the devoted loyalty and work of its professional civil 
service. Only if the public finances are in urgent need will interferences take 
place; however, even in such a case, strict fairness shall have the highest priority 
in governing our actions. 

The protection of the frontiers of the Reich, and with them the life of our 
Volk and the existence of our economy, is now in the hands of our Reichswehr 
which, in accordance with the terms imposed upon us by the Treaty of 
Versailles, can be regarded as the only really disarmed force in the world. In spite 
of its small size prescribed therein and its totally insufficient arms, the German 
Volk can regard its Reichswehr with proud satisfaction. This slight instrument 
of our national self-defense came into existence under the most difficult 
conditions. In its spirit, it is the bearer of our best military traditions. With 
painstaking conscientiousness the German Volk has thus fulfilled the obligations 
imposed upon it in the Peace Treaty; what is more, even the replacement of 
ships in our fleet to which we were authorized at that time has — I may be 
allowed to say, unfortunately — been carried out only to a small extent. 

For years Germany has been waiting in vain for the redemption of the 
promise to disarm given us by the others. It is the sincere desire of the National 
Government to be able to refrain from increasing the German Army and our 
weapons insofar as the rest of the world is also finally willing to fulfill its 
obligation of radically disarming. For Germany wants nothing except equal 
rights to live and equal freedom. 

However, the National Government wishes to cultivate this spirit of a will 
for freedom in the German Volk. The honor of the nation, the honor of our 
Army, and the ideal of freedom — all must once more become sacred to the 
German Volk! 

The German Volk wishes to live in peace with the world. 

It is for this very reason that the Reich Government will use every means to 
definitively eliminate the separation of the peoples on earth into two categories. 
Keeping open this wound leads the one to distrust, the other to hatred, and in 
the end to a general feeling of insecurity. The National Government is willing 
to extend a hand in sincere understanding to every people which is determined 
to once and for all put an absolute end to the tragic past. The distress of the 
world can only come to an end if the appropriate foundation is created by means 
of stable political conditions and if the peoples regain confidence in one another. 

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March 23, 1933 

To deal with the economic catastrophe, the following is necessary: 

1. an absolutely authoritarian leadership at home to create confidence in the 
stability of conditions; 

2. safeguarding peace on the part of the major nations for a long time to 
come and thus restoring the confidence of the people in one another; and 

3. the final triumph of the principles of common sense in the organization 
and leadership of the economy as well as a general release from reparations and 
impossible liabilities for debts and interest. 

We are unfortunately confronted by the fact that the Geneva Conference, 
in spite of lengthy negotiations, has not yet reached any practical result. The 
decision to institute a real disarmament measure has repeatedly been delayed by 
questions on technical detail and by the introduction of problems which have 
nothing to do with disarmament. This procedure is unsuitable. 

The illegal state of unilateral disarmament and the resulting national 
insecurity of Germany cannot last any longer. 

We recognize it as a sign of responsibility and good will that the British 
Government has, with its disarmament proposal, attempted to finally move the 
Conference to arrive at speedy decisions. The Reich Government will support 
any efforts aimed at effectively implementing general disarmament and securing 
Germany's long-overdue claim for disarmament. We have been disarmed for 
fourteen years, and for the past fourteen months we have been waiting for the 
outcome of the Disarmament Conference. Even more far-reaching is the plan of 
the head of the Italian Government, who is making a generous and foresighted 
attempt to ensure the smooth and consistent development of European politics 
as a whole. We attach the most earnest significance to this plan; we are willing 
to cooperate with absolute sincerity on the basis it provides in order to unite the 
four great powers, England, France, Italy, and Germany, in peaceful cooperation 
to courageously and determinedly approach those tasks upon the solution of 
which Europe's fate depends. 

For this reason we feel particularly grateful for the appreciative warmth 
which has greeted Germany's national uprising in Italy. We wish and hope that 
the concurrence of spiritual ideals will be the basis for a continuing 
consolidation of the friendly relations between the two countries. 

Similarly, the Reich Government, which regards Christianity as the 
unshakable foundation of the ethics and morality of the Volk, places great value 
on friendly relations with the Vatican and attempts to develop them. We are filled 
with a feeling of empathy for the troubles and distress of our Brudervolk in 
Austria. In all its doings, the Reich Government is conscious of the connection 
between the fate of all German tribes. The attitude toward the other individual 
foreign powers is evident from what has already been said. But there as well, where 
the mutual relations are already encumbered with difficulties, we shall endeavor 
to reach a settlement. However, the differentiation between victor and vanquished 
can never be the basis of an understanding. 

We are nonetheless of the conviction that a settlement of this sort in our 
relations to France is possible if both governments really attack the problems 
confronting them with farsightedness. In regard to the Soviet Union, the Reich 
Government is determined to cultivate friendly relations which are productive 

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March 23, 1933 

for both parties. The Government of the National Revolution above all views 
itself capable of such a positive policy with regard to Soviet Russia. The fight 
against Communism in Germany is an internal affair, in which we will never 
tolerate outside interference. The national political relations to other powers to 
which we are related by mutual interests will not be affected by this. Our 
relationship with the other countries shall continue to warrant our most earnest 
attention in future, in particular our relationship to the major countries 
overseas, with which Germany has long been allied by friendly ties and 
economic interests. 

We have particularly at heart the fate of the Germans living outside the 
borders of the Reich who are allied to us by language, culture, and traditions and 
who fight hard to retain these values. The National Government is resolved to 
use all the means at its command to support the rights internationally 
guaranteed to the German minorities. 

We welcome the plan of the World Economic Conference and approve of 
its meeting soon. The Reich Government is willing to contribute to this 
Conference in order to finally achieve positive results. 

The most important question is the problem of our short-term and long- 
term indebtedness abroad. 

The complete change in the conditions of the commodity markets of the 
world requires an adaptation. Only by means of trusting cooperation is it 
possible to really remove the widespread problems. Ten years of honest peace 
will be more beneficial for the welfare of all nations than thirty years of drawn- 
out stagnation in the terms of victor and vanquished. 

In order to place itself in a position to fulfill the tasks falling within this 
scope, the Government has had the two major parties, the National Socialists 
and the German Nationalists, introduce the Enabling Act in the Reichstag. 
Some of the planned measures require the approval of the majority necessary for 
constitutional amendments. The performance of these tasks and their 
completion is necessary. It would be inconsistent with the aim of the national 
uprising and it would fail to suffice for the intended goal were the Government 
to negotiate with and request the approval of the Reichstag for its measures in 
each given case. In this context, the Government is not motivated by a desire to 
give up the Reichstag as such. On the contrary: it reserves the right, for the 
future as well, to inform the Reichstag of its measures or to obtain its consent. 

The authority and the fulfillment of the tasks would suffer, however, were 
doubts in the stability of the new regime to arise in the Volk. The Reich 
Government views a further session of the Reichstag as an impossibility under 
the present condition of a far-reaching state of excitation in the nation. Rarely 
has the course of a revolution of such great magnitude run in such a disciplined 
and unbloody manner as the Erhebung of the German Volk during these past 
weeks. It is my will and my firm intention to provide for this smooth 
development in future as well. 

However, this makes it all the more necessary that the National Government 
be accorded that position of sovereignty which is fitting, in such an age, to put a 
halt to developments of a different sort. The Government will only make use of 
this authorization insofar as this is requisite for the implementation of 

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March 23, 1933 

vital measures. The existence of neither the Reichstag nor the Reichsrat is 
endangered. The position and the rights of the Reich President remain inviolate. 
It will always be the first and foremost task of the Government to bring about 
inner consensus with his aims. The existence of the Lander will not be abolished. 
The rights of the Churches will not be curtailed and their position vis-r-vis the 
State will not be altered. The number of cases in which there is an internal 
necessity for taking refuge in such a law is, in and of itself, limited. All the more, 
however, the Government insists upon the passage of the bill. Either way, it is 
asking for a clear decision. It is offering the parties of the Reichstag the chance 
for a smooth development which might lead to the growth of an understanding 
in future. However, the Government is just as determined as it is prepared to 
accept a notice of rejection and thus a declaration of resistance. May you, 
Gentlemen, now choose for yourselves between peace or war! 

The gentlemen chose peace, or so they were led to believe. 

The deputies of all the parties had only domestic policy in mind 
while they listened to Hitler's remarks on his government. The 
National Socialists were already accustomed to complying with Hitler's 
every wish. The German Nationalists and the other right-wing parties 
were pleased that the Socialists, i.e. the "Marxists," would be prevented 
from taking any part in government. The Center was happy that the 
indispensable role it had played in bringing about an absolute majority 
in every government since 1918 had at least prevailed in regard to 
achieving the two-thirds majority. The democratic German State Party 
wanted to prove that it took its name seriously and was genuinely 
supportive of the State. The Social Democrats, on the other hand, were 
naturally in no position to approve of Hitler's bill, for he had 
announced their removal from all public offices and even threatened 
their extermination in countless speeches. 

Not a single deputy voiced objections to the Chancellor's foreign 
policy program. The entire Reichstag, including the Social Democrats, 
declared its unanimous consent 146 both in this session on March 23 and 
in a further session on May 17— in spite of the fact that Hitler's foreign 
policy program represented the largest threat to the nation. 

The terms of Germany's domestic policy, i.e. whether or not the 
Germans engaged in a civil war, whether the country was governed by 
a dictatorship or a democracy — even whether or not the Jews were 
persecuted— were questions which received only marginal attention 
abroad. Never would any of these domestic matters have incited foreign 
powers to launch a military intervention against Hitler. Conversely, the 
foreign policy aims of the German Government did indeed command 
attention abroad. 

285 



March 23, 1933 

The flattering words with which Hitler addressed England, France, 
Italy, and the Soviet Union in his March 23 statement of policy carried 
no real weight. The real blueprint revealing his future foreign policy was 
the program he had laid down in Mein Kampf and expounded in 
numerous earlier speeches. Even if one dismissed as unrealistic folly the 
idea of a new German Reich formed by conquering Lebensraum in the 
East, there still remained Hitler's goal of disposing of the Treaty of 
Versailles— an all too real element of his foreign policy program. 

There is a general reluctance in Germany to think an uncomfortable 
matter through to its final consequences. Hitler's program of abolishing 
the Treaty of Versailles ultimately meant a restoration of the borders of 
1914; this, however, entailed war with Poland; war with Poland also 
meant war with the Western Powers— and hence Germany's military 
ruin. The deputies did not dwell on these unpleasant thoughts on March 
23. Spokesmen for party after party, the Social Democrats included, 
stood up and declared their respective party's consensus with Hitler's 
statements on foreign policy. After all, no one wanted to seem anti- 
national. Ever since 1914, the German Social Democratic Party had 
lowered its colors whenever the talk had turned to nationalism for fear 
of being judged unreliable in national matters. 

The speech denouncing Hitler's Enabling Act delivered by the 
Social Democratic deputy Otto Wels was remarkably weak. It might 
have been expected that he would at least take a stand against the "stab- 
in-the back" legend; for although Hitler had refrained from mentioning 
it in his policy statement, he had repeated it often enough in other 
speeches. Wels chose instead to demonstrate how very 'national' he and 
the Social Democrats had conducted themselves since 1918. His remarks 
were confined to domestic issues. Wels protested against the persecution 
suffered by his fellow party members throughout the country. In 
touching this topic, however, he made himself vulnerable to counter- 
attacks, for the Social Democratic rulers, particularly in Prussia, had not 
exactly been gentle in their treatment of National Socialists during the 
preceding years. 

Thus Hitler took advantage of this chance to settle this special 
account with the Social Democratic Party one last time. He took notes 
during Wels' speech and, at its close, once more stepped to the rostrum. 
If anyone still harbored the suspicion that Hitler had a ghostwriter 
prepare his speeches, he now learned the error of his ways. No one 
could have written a rejoinder to Wels' unscheduled speech in that short 
time. 

286 



March 23, 1933 

Below are the speeches of both Wels and Hitler as recorded in the 
stenographic minutes of the Reichstag: 147 

President Goring: Deputy Wels has the floor. 
Wels (SPD), Deputy: Ladies and Gentlemen! We Social Democrats approve of 
the Reich Chancellor's foreign policy demand of German equality of rights even 
that much more emphatically because we have advocated it from the very 
beginning. 

("Hear, hear!" from the Social Democrats) 
I may take the liberty, in this context, of making the personal remark that I was 
the first German to oppose the untruth of Germany's blame for the outbreak of 
the World War before an international forum, to be precise, at the Bern 
Conference on February 3, 1919. 

("Hear, hear!" from the Social Democrats) 
No basic principle of our party has ever been able or will ever be able to hinder 
us from representing the just claims of the German nation to the other peoples 
of the world. 

("Bravo!" from the Social Democrats) 
The day before yesterday, the Reich Chancellor made a remark in Potsdam to 
which we also subscribe. He said, "The utter folly of the theory of eternal 
victors and vanquished gave birth to the utter absurdity of reparations and, as a 
consequence, the disastrous state of the world's economy." This statement 
applies to foreign policy; it applies no less to domestic policy. 

("Hear, hear!" from the Social Democrats) 
Here too the theory of eternal victors and vanquished is, as the Reich Chancellor 
has noted, utter folly. 

But the Reich Chancellor's remark also recalls another remark which was made 
on July 23, 1919 in the National Assembly. It was said at that time, "We may be 
stripped of power, but not of honor." 148 

(Calls of approval from the Social Democrats) 
It is clear that the opponents are after our honor, there is no doubt of that. But 
it will remain our belief to the last that this attempt at divesting us of our honor 
will one day rebound on those who instigated this attempt, for it is not our 
honor which is being destroyed in the worldwide tragedy. 

("Hear, hear!" from the Social Democrats; shouts of "Who said that?" 

from the National Socialists) 
That is part of a statement which a government led by Social Democrats 
submitted before the whole world on behalf of the German people, four hours 
before the Armistice ran out, in order to block any further enemy advances. This 
statement constitutes a valuable complement to the remark made by the Reich 
Chancellor. 
No good can come of a dictated peace; 

("Hear, hear!" from the Social Democrats) 
and this applies all the more to domestic affairs. 

(Renewed calls of approval from the Social Democrats) 
A real Volksgemeinschaft cannot be established on such a basis. That requires 
first of all equality of rights. May the Government guard itself against crude 

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March 23, 1933 

excesses of polemics; may it prohibit incitements to violence with rigorousness 
for its own part. This might be achieved if it is accomplished fairly and 
objectively on all sides and if one refrains from treating defeated enemies as 
though they were outlaws. 

("Hear, hear!" from the Social Democrats) 
Freedom and life they can take from us, but not honor. 

(Applause from the Social Democrats) 
Considering the persecution the Social Democratic Party has suffered recently, 
no one can fairly demand or expect of it that it cast its vote in favor of the 
Enabling Act introduced here. The elections of March 5 have resulted in a 
majority for the parties in government and thus given them the opportunity to 
govern, strictly as laid down in the letter and the intention of the Constitution. 
But where this opportunity is given, it is coupled with an obligation. 

("Hear, hear!" from the Social Democrats) 
Criticism is beneficial and necessary. Never in the history of the German 
Reichstag, however, has control over public affairs vested in the elected 
representatives of the people been eliminated to the extent to which this is now 
the case 

("Hear, hear!" from the Social Democrats) 
and will be even more so by means of the new Enabling Act. This type of 
governmental omnipotence is destined to have even more grave consequences 
due to the total lack of flexibility in the press. 

Ladies and Gentlemen! A devastating picture has often been painted of the state 
of affairs prevailing in Germany today. As always in such cases, there is no lack 
of exaggeration. As far as my party is concerned, I wish to state that we did not 
ask for any intervention in Paris; we did not send off millions to Prague; we did 
not disseminate exaggerated news abroad. 

("Hear, hear!" from the Social Democrats) 
It would be easier to counter such exaggerations if the type of reporting which 
differentiates between right and wrong were admissible at home. 

(Calls of approval from the Social Democrats) 
It would be even better if we were able, with a clear conscience, to attest to the 
fact that the stability of the law has been restored for all. 

(Renewed calls of approval from the Social Democrats) 

And that, Gentlemen, is up to you. 
The gentlemen of the National Socialist Party call the Movement they have 
unleashed a National and not a National Socialist Revolution. The only 
connection between their Revolution and Socialism has been confined until now 
to the attempt to destroy the Social Democratic Movement which has 
constituted the pillar of the Socialist body of thought for more than two 
generations, 

(Laughter from the National Socialists) 
and will continue to do so in future. If the gentlemen of the National Socialist 
Party intended to perform Socialist deeds, they would not need an Enabling Act 
to do so. 

("Hear, hear!" from the Social Democrats) 
You would be certain of an overwhelming majority in this forum. Every motion 

288 



March 23, 1933 

you made in the interests of the workers, the peasants, the whitecollar 
employees, the civil servants, or the Mittelstand would meet with overpowering 
if not unanimous approval. 

(Calls of approval from the Social Democrats; laughter from the National 

Socialists) 
But you nevertheless first want to eliminate the Reichstag to proceed with your 
Revolution. Destroying what exists does not suffice to make up a revolution. 
The people expect positive achievements. They are awaiting drastic measures to 
combat the economic distress prevalent not only in Germany, but everywhere 
in the world. 

We Social Democrats have borne joint responsibility in the most difficult of 
times and have been stoned as our reward. 

("Hear, hear!" from the Social Democrats; laughter from the National 

Socialists) 
Our achievements in reconstructing the State and the economy and in liberating 
the occupied territories will prevail in history. 

(Chorus of assent from the Social Democrats) 
We have created equal rights for all and sociallyoriented labor legislation. We 
have aided in creating a Germany in which the path to leadership is open not 
only to counts and barons, but also to men of the working class. 

(Renewed assent from the Social Democrats) 
You cannot retreat from that without exposing your own Fiihrer. 

(Cheering and applause from the Social Democrats) 
Any attempt to turn back the wheels of time will be in vain. We Social 
Democrats are aware that one cannot eliminate the realities of power politics by 
the simple act of legal protests. We see the reality of your present rule. But the 
people's sense of justice also wields political power, and we will never stop 
appealing to this sense of justice. 

The Weimar Constitution is not a Socialist Constitution. But we adhere to the 
basic principles of a constitutional state, to the equality of rights, and the 
concept of social legislation anchored therein. We German Social Democrats 
solemnly pledge ourselves in this historic hour to the principles of humanity and 
justice, of freedom and Socialism. 

(Calls of approval from the Social Democrats) 
No Enabling Act can give you the power to destroy ideas which are eternal and 
indestructible. You yourself have professed your belief in Socialism. Bismarck's 
Law against Socialists has not destroyed the Social Democratic Party. Even 
further persecution can be a source of new strength to the German Social 
Democratic Party. 

We hail those who are persecuted and in despair. We hail our friends in the 
Reich. Their steadfastness and loyalty are worthy of acclaim. The courage of 
their convictions, their unbroken faith — 

(Laughter from the National Socialists; "Bravo!" from the Social 

Democrats) 
are the guarantees of a brighter future. 

(Renewed cheering from the Social Democrats; laughter from the 

National Socialists) 

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March 23, 1933 

President Goring: The Reich Chancellor has the floor. 

(Thunderous applause and cries of "Heil!" from the National Socialists) 149 

Hitler left his seat on the government bench and strode to the 
podium for the second time that day; he pointed an accusing finger at 
the Social Democratic deputies and began: 

Spat kommt ihr, dock ihr kommt! 150 ' 

(Calls of approval from the National Socialists) 
The pretty theories which you, Mr. Deputy, have just expounded here have 
been addressed to world history a little too late. 

(Amused assent from the National Socialists) 
Perhaps these realizations, put to practice years ago, would have made the 
complaints you have today superfluous. 

You declare that the Social Democratic Party subscribes to our foreign policy 
program; that it rejects the lie of war guilt; that it is against reparations. Now I 
may ask just one question: where was this fight during the time you had power 
in Germany? 

("Hear, hear!" from the National Socialists) 
You once had the opportunity to dictate the law of domestic behavior to the 
German Volk. You were able to do it in other areas. It would have been equally 
possible to infuse in the German Revolution, which you played a part in 
initiating, the same momentum and the same direction which France once 
infused in its uprising in the year 1870. 

("Hear, hear!" from the National Socialists) 
It would have been at your discretion to shape the German uprising into one of 
true national character, and you still would have had the right, had the flag of 
the new Republic not returned triumphant, to say: we did everything in our 
power to avoid this catastrophe by a final appeal to the strength of the German 
Volk. 

(Calls of approval from the National Socialists and the German 

Nationalists) 
At that time you avoided the fight; now you suddenly feel an urge to talk about 
it to everyone around you. 

You state that being stripped of power does not mean being stripped of honor. 
You are right; that does not necessarily have to be the case. Even if we were 
divested of our power, I know we would not be divested of our honor. Thanks 
to having been oppressed by your party, our Movement had been stripped of 
power for years; it has never been stripped of honor. 

(Thunderous applause from the National Socialists) 
It is my conviction that we shall inoculate the German Volk with a spirit that, 
in view of the Volk's defenselessness today, Mr. Deputy, will certainly never 
allow it to be stripped of its honor. 

(Calls of approval from the National Socialists and the German 

Nationalists) 
Here, too, it was your responsibility, you who were in power for fourteen years, 

(Cries of "Oh, no!" from the Social Democrats) 

290 



March 23, 1933 

to ensure that this German Volk had set an example of honor to the world. It 
was your responsibility to ensure that, if the rest of the world insisted upon 
suppressing us, at least the type of suppression the German Volk was subjected 
to would be one of dignity. You had the opportunity to speak out against all of 
the manifestations of disgrace in our Volk. You could have eliminated this 
treason just as easily as we will eliminate it. 

(Cheering from the National Socialists and German Nationalists) 
You have no right to even associate yourself with this claim; for you should 
never, at that hour when every revolution would have constituted the 
concurrence of the offenses of treason and high treason, have given your 
support, even indirectly, to such acts. And you should have prevented the 
German Volk from being subjected to a new constitution drawn up at the beck 
and call of foreign countries. That has nothing to do with honor, allowing the 
enemy to dictate one's own internal structure. 

(Cheering and clapping from the government parties) 
And, moreover, at that time you should have professed your faith in the 
German tricolor and not in the colors on the handbills the enemy threw into 
our trenches, 

(Renewed cheering from the right) 
because more than ever in an age of distress and suppression by the enemy must 
one show one's pride and even more pledge one's support to one's Volk and the 
symbols of one's Volk. You would still have had the opportunity, even if the 
environment had forced us to denounce everything which had formerly been 
sacred to us, to allow the national honor to be evidenced to the world in 
domestic policy. 

("Hear, hear!" from the right) 
You say: equal rights! Just as we desire it abroad, we also desire it at home. It was 
for these 'equal rights,' Herr Wels, that we fought for fourteen years! You 
ignored these equal rights as far as national Germany was concerned! So do not 
talk to us today about equal rights! 

(Loud cheering from the right) 
You say that the vanquished should not be labelled outlaws. Well, Mr. Deputy, 
we were outlaws as long as you were in power. 

(Renewed thunderous applause from the National Socialists; protests 

from the Social Democrats; a cry of "Severing!" from President Goring) 
You talk about persecution. I think there are few of us here present who were 
not forced to pay in prison for the persecution you practiced. Few of us here 
present who were not made to feel the effects of that persecution in acts of 
harassment a thousand times over and incidents of suppression a thousand times 



over 



(Calls of approval from the right) 
And in addition to those of us here present, I know a company of hundreds of 
thousands who were at the mercy of a system of persecution which vent itself 
on them in a disgraceful, even in a positively despicable manner! You seem to 
have totally forgotten that, for years, our shirts were ripped off our backs 
because you did not approve of the color. 

(Loud jeers from the National Socialists) 

291 



March 23, 1933 

Let us stay within the realm of reality! Your persecution has made us strong! 
You also said that criticism is beneficial. We will take criticism from anyone 
who loves Germany. But we will take no criticism from anyone who worships 
the Internationale! 

(Repeated waves of loud cheering) 
Here too, you have come to your realization a good deal too late, Mr. Deputy. 
You should have recognized the beneficial power of criticism when we were in 
the opposition. Back then, you had not yet been confronted with these words; 
back then our press was verboten and verboten and again verboten; our assemblies 
were banned; we were not allowed to speak, and I was not allowed to speak — 
and that went on for years! And now you say criticism is beneficial! 

(Laughter from the National Socialists; shouts from the Social 

Democrats; the President's bell calling for order) 
President Goring: Stop talking and listen to this for once! 

(Cries of "Bravo!" from the National Socialists) 
Hitler, Reich Chancellor: You complain that in the end the world is told untrue 
facts about the state of affairs in Germany. You complain that the world is told 
that every day dismembered corpses are turned over to the Israelite cemeteries 
in Berlin. How that torments you; you would be so glad to do justice to the 
truth! Well, Mr. Deputy, it must be child's play for your party, with its 
international connections, to find out the truth. And not only that. These past 
few days I have been reading the newspapers of your own Social Democratic 
sister parties in German-Austria. No one is hindering you from disseminating 
your realization of the truth there. 

(Cries of "That's already been done!" from the Social Democrats) 
I would be curious as to how effective the power of your international 
connections really will be in this case as well. 

(Amusement on the part of the National Socialists; shouts from the 

Social Democrats) 
Would you please let me finish, I didn't interrupt you either! 151 1 have read your 
paper in the Saar, Mr. Deputy, and it does nothing other than commit constant 
acts of treason, Deputy Wels, 

(Indignant shouts from the National Socialists) 
it is constantly attempting to discredit Germany abroad, 

(Jeers and cries of "Gemeinheit!" ("Dirty trick!") from the National 

Socialists) 
to shed a bad light upon our Volk with lies to the rest of the world. 
You talk about the lack of stability of the law. Gentlemen of the Social 
Democratic Party! I too witnessed the Revolution in 1918. I really do have to 
say that if we did not have a feeling for the law, we would not be here today, 
and you would not be here either! 

(Shouts of "Bravo!" from the National Socialists) 
In 1918 you turned against those who had done nothing to harm you. 

("Hear, hear!" from the National Socialists) 
We are restraining ourselves from turning against those who tortured us and 
humiliated us for fourteen years. 

("Hear, hear!" from the National Socialists) 

292 



March 23, 1933 

You say the National Socialist Revolution has nothing to do with Socialism, but 
rather that its "Socialism" exists only in the sense that it persecutes the "only 
pillar of Socialism in Germany," the SPD. 

(Laughter from the National Socialists) 
You are sissies, Gentlemen, and not worthy of this age, if you start talking about 
persecution at this stage of the game. What has been done to you? You are sitting 
here and your speaker is being listened to with patience. 

(Cries of "Hear, hear!" and amusement on the part of the National 

Socialists) 
You talk about persecution. Who has been persecuting you? 

("Hear, hear!" from President Gbring) 
You say you are the only pillar of Socialism. You were the pillar of that 
mysterious Socialism of which, in reality, the German Volk never had a glimpse. 

(Cries of "Hear, hear!" and amusement on the part of the National 

Socialists) 
You are talking today about your achievements and your deeds; you are 
speaking of all the things you intended to do. By your fruits shall ye, too, be 
known! 

(Tumultuous approval and applause from the National Socialists) 
The fruits testify against you! 

(Protest from the Social Democrats; laughter from the National 

Socialists) 
If the Germany you created in fourteen years is any reflection of your socialist 
aims, then all I can say is give us four years' time, Gentlemen, in order to show 
you the reflection of our aims. 

(Calls of approval from the National Socialists) 
You say: "You want to eliminate the Reichstag to proceed with your 
Revolution." Gentlemen, if so, we would not have found it necessary to first go 
to this vote, to convene this Reichstag, or to have the draft of this bill presented. 
God knows we would have had the courage to deal with you some other way as 
well! 

(Thunderous, long drawnout cheering and applause from the National 

Socialists) 
You also said that we cannot ignore the Social Democratic Party because it was 
the first one to clear these seats for the Volk, for the working people, and not 
only for barons or counts. In every instance, Mr. Deputy, you are too late! Why 
did you not advise your friend Grzesinski of your views in good time, why did 
you not tell your other friends Braun and Severing, who accused me for years of 
being nothing more than a house painter's apprentice! — 

(Enthusiastic assent and indignant jeers from the National Socialists; 

protest from the Social Democrats; countering cries of "Of course that's 

what you said!" from the National Socialists) 
For years you claimed that on your posters. 

(Renewed protest from the Social Democrats; cries of "Quiet!" from the 

National Socialists; the President's bell calling for order) 
President Goring: Now the Chancellor is getting even! 

(Approval from the National Socialists) 

293 



March 23, 1933 

Hitler, Reich Chancellor: And in the end I was actually threatened that I would 
be driven out of Germany with a dog whip! 152 

(Jeers from the National Socialists) 
We National Socialists will now clear the path for the German worker leading 
to what is his to claim and demand. We National Socialists will be his advocates; 
you, Gentlemen (addressing the Social Democrats), are no longer necessary! 

(Cries of "Hear, hear!" and long drawnout, thunderous applause from the 

National Socialists) 
You also state that not power, but a sense of justice is crucial. We have attempted 
to awaken this sense of justice in our Volk for fourteen years, and we have 
succeeded in awakening it. However, I now believe on the basis of my own 
political experiences with you — 

("Hear, hear!" from the National Socialists) 
that unfortunately, justice alone is not enough — one has to be in power, too! 

("Hear, hear!" from the National Socialists) 
And do not mistake us for a bourgeois world! You think that your star might 
rise again! Gentlemen, Germany's star will rise and yours will fall. 

(Loud cries of "Bravo!" and "Heil!" from the National Socialists; long 

drawnout cheering, also from the galleries) 
You say you were not broken during the period of Socialist legislation. That was 
a period in which the German workers saw in you something other than what 
you are today. But why have you forgotten to mention this realization to us?! 

("Hear, hear!" from the National Socialists) 
Everything that becomes rotten, old, and weak in the life of a people disappears, 
never to return. 

(Assent from the right) 
Your death knell has sounded as well, and it is only because we are thinking of 
Germany and its distress and the requirements of national life that we appeal in 
this hour to the German Reichstag to give its consent to what we could have 
taken at any rate. 

("Hear, hear!" from the National Socialists) 
We are doing it for the sake of justice — not because we overestimate power, but 
because we may thus one day perhaps more easily join with those who, today, 
may be separated from us but who nevertheless believe in Germany, too. 

(Calls of "Bravo!" from the National Socialists) 
For I would not want to make the mistake of provoking opponents instead of 
either destroying or becoming reconciled with them. 

(Cries of "Bravo!" and "Hear, hear!" from the National Socialists) 
I would like to extend my hand to those who, perhaps on other paths, will also 
come to feel with their Volk in the end, 

(Cries of "Bravo!" from the Center Party) 
and would not want to declare an everlasting war, 

(Renewed cries of "Bravo!") 
not because of weakness, but out of love to my Volk, and in order to spare this 
German Volk all what will perish with the rest in this age of struggles. 

(Renewed shouts of "Bravo!" from the National Socialists and the 

German Nationalists) 

294 



March 23, 1933 

That you may never misunderstand me on this point: I extend my hand to 
everyone who commits himself to Germany. 

(Cries of "Bravo!") 
I do not recognize the precepts of the Internationale. 

(Cheering from the National Socialists and German Nationalists) 
I believe that you (addressing the Social Democrats) are not voting for this bill 
for the reason that you, in your innermost mentality, are incapable of 
comprehending the purpose which thereby imbues us. 

("Hear, hear!" from the National Socialists) 
I believe, however, that you would not do this were we really what your press 
abroad today makes us out to be, 

("Hear, hear!" from the National Socialists) 
and I can only say to you: I do not even want you to vote for it! Germany will 
be liberated, but not by you! 

(Long drawnout, thunderous cries of "Heil!" and cheering from the 

National Socialists and in the galleries. Applause from the German 

Nationalists. Repeated waves of thunderous applause and cries of "Heil!") 

It was to be the first and only time Hitler took part in a debate 
before the Reichstag and, at least from 1932 onwards, before the public. 

The snub he had delivered to the Chairman of the Social Democratic 
Party naturally elicited the highest acclaim, both in the right-wing parties 
and among the members of the Reich Government. Even the normally 
reserved Hugenberg was openly enthusiastic and thanked Hitler at the 
cabinet meeting on March 24 "on behalf of the other cabinet members for 
the impressive and successful appearance in the Reichstag, but most of all 
for the brilliant rebuff of that Marxist leader, Wels." 153 

The further course of the Reichstag session on March 23 brought no 
other incidents. The deputies Kaas (Center Party), Ritter von Lex (BVP), 
Reinhold Meier (German State Party), Simpfendorfer (CSV), and Goring 
(NSDAP) subsequently declared the consent of their respective parties to 
the Enabling Act, which was then passed with a total of 441 votes (all of 
the parties with the exception of the SPD) to the 94 votes of the Social 
Democrats. The Reichsrat, now composed exclusively of National 
Socialist Lander representatives, passed the bill unanimously the same day. 

It is pointless to speculate what Hitler would have done had the 
Enabling Act not secured the required two-thirds majority. Such a 
situation would certainly not have presented an obstacle to his plans for 
governing the country; he had said as much in no uncertain terms on 
various occasions. As early as August 6, 1932, Goebbels had recorded 
Hitler's intentions in his diary on the occasion of the then forthcoming 
government negotiations. He had noted: 154 "If a Reichstag rejects an 
Enabling Act the Ftihrer demands, it will be sent home." 

295 



March 24, 1933 

In all probability, Hitler would have continued governing with the 
aid of emergency decrees pursuant to Article 48 of the Weimar 
Constitution. He had no need to fear interference from the Reichstag 
due to its right-wing majority. At the next opportunity, he would have 
announced new elections in order to procure a two-thirds majority in 
the Reichstag, as had been done in October/November 1933. 155 



296 



March 26, 1933 



Abroad, the consequences of the new Enabling Act had been 
perceived more clearly than in the ranks of the non-National Socialist 
parties in Germany. The commentaries of the foreign press were less 
than friendly and aroused Hitler's anger. According to his 
preconception, so-called Weltjudentum (world Jewry) was to blame. 

As is generally known, Hitler believed in the existence of a secret 
Jewish world government which influenced all of the governments 
around the globe to act in its interests; above all, this entity was 
determined not to allow the German Volk to come to the fore. On the 
other hand, he believed the solidarity of Jewry throughout the world 
was so strong that it would be willing to make concessions in order to 
alleviate any hardships the Jews in Germany might be made to bear. 

Therefore Hitler was convinced that he need only harass and 
threaten the German Jews, and foreign governments would be 
persuaded to yield in their attitude towards Germany and Hitler: world 
Jewry would instruct these governments to act accordingly. 

Without delay he went to work on setting a warning example. As 
Reich Chancellor, he had until now been extremely reserved on this 
point, rarely exhibiting his anti-Semitic attitude. Since January 30, even 
the Party and the National Socialist press had, on Hitler's orders, 
refrained from treating the Jewish problem in their customary fashion. 
This policy was to undergo a radical change. 

From March 26 to March 28, Hitler conferred with his Unterfuhrers 
in Berchtesgaden and Munich in order to outline an operation against 
German Jews to commence on April 1, with the expressly announced 
aim of thus putting pressure on world Jewry and foreign 
governments. 156 On March 28, Hitler issued the following appeal to all 
party organizations of the NSDAP to boycott the Jews: 157 

297 



March 28, 1933 

National Socialists! Party Comrades! 

After fourteen years of inner conflict, the German Volk — politically 
overcoming its ranks, classes, professions, and confessional divisons — has 
effected an Erhebung which put a lightning end to the Marxist-Jewish nightmare. 

In the weeks following January 30, a unique national revolution took place 
in Germany. 

In spite of long years of exceedingly severe suppression and persecution, the 
masses of millions which support the Government of the National Revolution 
have, in a very calm and disciplined matter, given the new Reich leadership legal 
cover for the implementation of its reform of the German nation from top to 
bottom. On March 5 the overwhelming majority of Germans eligible to vote 
declared its confidence in the new regime. The completion of the national 
revolution has thus become the demand of the Volk. 

The Jewish-Marxist Bonzen deserted their position of power with deplorable 
cowardice. Despite all the fuss, not a single one dared to raise any serious 
resistance. 

For the most part, they have left the masses they had seduced in the lurch 
and fled abroad, taking with them their stuffed strongboxes. 

The authors and beneficiaries of our misfortune owe the fact that they were 
spared — almost without exception — solely to the incomparable discipline and 
order with which this act of overthrowing was conducted. 

Hardly a hair of their heads was harmed. Compare this act of self-discipline 
on the part of the national uprising in Germany with, for instance, the Bolshevist 
Revolution in Russia, which claimed the lives of over three million people, and 
you will begin to appreciate what a debt of gratitude the criminals guilty of the 
disintegration in Germany would owe the powers of the national uprising. 
Compare the terrible battles and destruction of the Revolution of these very 
November Men themselves: their shooting of hostages in the years 1918 and '19; 
the slaughtering of defenseless opponents — and you will once again perceive how 
enormous the difference is between them and the national uprising. 

The men presently in power solemnly proclaimed to the world that they 
wanted to live in international peace. In this, the German Volk constitutes a 
loyal Gefolgschaft (following). Germany wants neither worldwide confusion nor 
international intrigues. National revolutionary Germany is firmly resolved to 
put an end to internal mismanagement! 

Now that the domestic enemies of the nation have been eliminated by the 
Volk itself, what we have long been waiting for will now come to pass. The 
Communist and Marxist criminals and their Jewish-intellectual instigators, who, 
having made off with their capital stocks across the border in the nick of time, 
are now unfolding an unscrupulous, treasonous campaign of agitation against 
the German Volk as a whole from there. Because it became impossible for them 
to continue lying in Germany, they have begun, in the capitals of the former 
Entente, to continue the same agitation against the young national uprising 
which they had already pursued at the outbreak of the War against the Germany 
of that time. 

Lies and slander of positively hairraising perversity are being launched about 
Germany. Horror stories of dismembered Jewish corpses, gouged-out 

298 



March 28, 1933 

eyes, and hacked-off hands are circulated for the purpose of defaming the 
German Volk in the world for a second time, just as they had succeeded in doing 
once before in 1914. The animosity of millions of innocent human beings, 
peoples with whom the German Volk wishes only to live in peace, is being 
stirred up by these unscrupulous criminals. They want German goods and 
German labor to fall victim to the international boycott. It seems they think the 
misery in Germany is not bad enough as it is; they have to make it worse! 

They lie about Jewish females who have supposedly been killed; about 
Jewish girls allegedly being raped before the eyes of their parents; about 
cemeteries being ravaged! The whole thing is one big lie invented for the sole 
purpose of provoking a new world-war agitation! 

Standing by and watching this lunatic crime any longer would mean being 
implicated. 

The National Socialist Party will therefore now take defensive action against 
this universal crime with the means which are capable of striking a blow to the 
guilty parties. 

For the guilty ones are among us, they live in our midst and day after day 
misuse the right to hospitality which the German Volk has granted them. 

At a time when millions of our people have nothing to live on and nothing 
to eat, while hundreds of thousands of German brain-workers degenerate on the 
streets, these intellectual Jewish men of letters are sitting in our midst and have 
no qualms about claiming the right to our hospitality. 

What would America do were the Germans in America to commit a sin 
against America like the one these Jews have committed against Germany? The 
National Revolution did not harm a hair of their heads. They were allowed to 
go about their business as before; but mind you, corruption will be 
exterminated, regardless of who commits it. Just as belonging to a Christian 
confession or our own Volk does not constitute a license for criminals, neither 
does belonging to the Jewish race or the Mosaic religion. 

For decades, Germany indiscriminately allowed all aliens to enter the 
country. There are 135 people to one square kilometer of land in this country. 
In America there are less than 15. In spite of this fact, America saw it fit to set 
quotas for immigration and even exclude certain peoples from immigrating. 
Without any regard to its own distress, Germany refrained for decades from 
instituting these measures. As our reward, we now have a clique of Jewish men 
of letters, professors and profiteers inciting the world against us while millions 
of our own Volksgenossen are unemployed and degenerating. 

This will be put to a stop now! 

The Germany of the National Revolution is not the Germany of a cowardly 
bourgeois mentality. 

We see the misery and wretchedness of our own Volksgenossen and feel 
obliged to leave nothing undone which can prevent further damage to this, our 
Volk. 

For the parties responsible for these lies and slander are the Jews in our 
midst. It is they who are the source of this campaign of hate and lies against 
Germany. It would be in their power to call the liars in the rest of the world into 
line. 

299 



March 28, 1933 

Because they choose not to do so, we will make sure that this crusade of 
hatred and lies against Germany is no longer directed against the innocent 
German Volk, but against the responsible agitators themselves. 

This smear campaign of boycotting and atrocities must not and shall not 
injure the German Volk, but rather the Jews themselves — a thousand times more 
severely. 

Thus the following order is issued to all party sections and party 
organizations: 

Item 1: Action Committees for a boycott against the Jews 

Action Committees are to be formed in each Ortsgruppe (local chapter) and 
organizational body of the NSDAP for conducting a practical, organized 
boycott of Jewish businesses, Jewish goods, Jewish doctors, and Jewish lawyers. 
The Action Committees shall be responsible for ensuring that the boycott does 
not do any harm to innocent parties but instead does all the more harm to the 
guilty parties. 

Item 2: Utmost protection for all foreigners 

The Action Committees shall be responsible for providing the utmost 
protection for all foreigners, without regard to their religion and origins or race. 
The boycott is a purely defensive action which is aimed exclusively at the 
Judentum in Germany. 

Item 3: Boycott propaganda 

The Action Committees shall immediately popularize the boycott by means 
of propaganda and enlightenment. Basic principle: no good German is still 
buying from a Jew or allowing the Jew or his henchmen to offer him goods. The 
boycott must be a universal one. It will be borne by the entire Volk and must 
hit Jewry where it is most vulnerable. 

Item 4: The central management. Pg. Streicher lis 

In cases of doubt, one is to refrain from boycotting businesses until 
informed otherwise by the Central Committee in Munich. The Chairman of the 
Central Committee is Pg. Streicher. 

Item 5: Surveillance of newspapers 

The Action Committees shall keep the newspapers under sharp surveillance 
in order to ascertain the extent to which they are participating in the 
enlightenment crusade of the German Volk against the Jewish smear campaign 
of atrocities (Greuelhetze) abroad. If newspapers are not doing so or doing so only 
within a limited scope, it is to be seen to that they are instantly removed from 
every building inhabited by Germans. No German man and no German 
business is to continue advertising in such newspapers. These papers must 
become victims of public contempt, written for fellow members of the Jewish 
race, but not for the German Volk. 

Item 6: Boycott as a means of protecting German labor 

In conjunction with the factory cell organizations of the Party, the Action 
Committees must carry the propaganda of the enlightenment concerning the 
effects of the Jewish smear campaign of atrocities for German labor and thus for 
the German worker into the factories, enlightening the workers in particular as 
to the necessity of a national boycott as a defensive measure for the protection 
of German labor. 

300 



March 28, 1933 

Item 7: Action Committees down to the last village! 

The Action Committees must be driven into the smallest villages in order 
to hit especially the Jewish traders on the flatlands. 

As a basic principle, it should be stressed that the boycott is a defensive 
measure which was forced upon us. 

Item 8: The boycott is to commence on April 1! 

The boycott shall not begin in a dissipated fashion but abruptly. For this 
reason all preparations are to be made instantly. The SA and SS will be given 
orders to set up guards to warn the population not to set foot in Jewish shops 
from the moment the boycott begins. The beginning of the boycott is to be 
publicized on posters and in the press, in handbills, etc. 

The boycott shall commence abruptly at 10:00 in the morning on Saturday, 
April 1. It will be maintained until an order from the Party leadership 
commands that it be discontinued. 

Item 9: Demand of the masses for restricted admission 

In tens of thousands of mass assemblies which are to reach as far as the 
smallest village, the Action Committees shall organize the demand for the 
introduction of a restriction to the number of Jews employed in all professions 
which should be relative to their proportion in the German population. In order 
to increase the impact of the action, this demand is initially to be confined to 
three areas: 

a) admission to the German secondary schools and universities; 

b) the medical profession; 

c) the legal profession. 

Item 10: Enlightenment abroad 

Another further task of the Action Committees is to ensure that every 
German who upholds any connection whatsoever abroad shall make use of this 
to circulate in letters, telegrams, and telephone calls in an enlightening manner 
the truth that law and order reigns in Germany; that it is the single most ardent 
wish of the German Volk to be able to pursue its work in peace and live in peace 
with the rest of the world; and that it is fighting the battle against the Jewish 
smear campaign of atrocities purely as a defensive battle. 

Item 11: Calm, discipline, and no acts of violence! 

The Action Committees are responsible for ensuring that this entire battle 
is conducted with the utmost calm and the greatest discipline. Refrain from 
harming a single hair of a Jew's head in future as well! We will come to terms 
with this smear campaign simply by the drastic force of these measures cited. 
More than ever before it is necessary that the entire Party stand behind the 
leadership in blind obedience as one man. 

National Socialists, you have wrought the miracle of sending the November 
State cartwheeling in a single offensive; you will accomplish this second task the 
same way. International Weltjudentum should know one thing: 

The Government of the National Revolution does not exist in a vacuum. It 
is the representation of the working German Volk. Whoever attacks it, is 
attacking Germany! Whoever slanders it, is slandering the nation! Whoever 
fights it, has declared war on 65 million people! We were able to come to terms 
with the Marxist agitators in Germany; they will not force us to our knees, even 

301 



March 29, 1933 

if they are now proceeding with their renegade crimes against the people from 
abroad. 

National Socialists! Saturday, at the stroke of ten, Judentum will know upon 
whom it has declared war. 

National Socialist German Workers' Party / Party Leadership 

Contrary to his accustomed practice, Hitler hesitated to sign his 
name to this proclamation, opting instead to use the more anonymous 
"Party Leadership." But his style and attitude are evident in every line; 
only the eleven individual items seem in part to be the work of 
Goebbels'. 159 Hitler appointed the well-known, violently anti-Semitic 
Julius Streicher, Gauleiter in Nuremberg, to head the action, and made 
all the necessary arrangements on March 28 in Munich. 

On March 29 he issued another proclamation from Munich to the 
NSDAP in Bavaria urging Party members to restrain from independent 
action. Reich Commissar von Epp, the proclamation stated, was to 
represent the sole authority in Bavaria and the court of last instance — for 
the Party as well. 160 

Afterwards, Hitler flew to Berlin to attend the cabinet meeting. 
There he openly declared that he was the originator of the boycott 
action against the German Jews. 

The Volkischer Beobachter printed the following report of Hitler's 
address to the cabinet: 161 

Berlin, March 29 
Today's Reich cabinet meeting, the first which is to pass far-reaching 
resolutions on the basis of the Enabling Act, was opened by Reich Chancellor 
Adolf Hitler with a declaration on the present political situation. The Fiihrer 
commented on the defensive measures against the Jewish atrocity propaganda 
abroad. It had been necessary to organize the defense, the Fiihrer stated, because 
otherwise it would have come from the Volk itself and perhaps taken on 
undesirable forms. 

By means of this organization, the defense measure itself would stay under 
control and molestation motivated by personal grievances as well as acts of 
violence would be prevented. 

However, Judentum must, according to the Fiihrer, realize that a Jewish war 
against Germany would hit Judentum in Germany itself with full force. 

On April 1, the SA and other Party forces set up guards in front of 
Jewish businesses, doctors' practices, law offices, etc. and prevented 
customers— to the extent that any even dared to make an appearance— 
from entering. The reaction abroad seemed to lend support to Hitler's 
theories. The foreign press took great pains to demonstrate reserve in 

302 



April 1, 1933 

commenting on the new situation in Germany, albeit not because 
"world Jewry" had instructed them to do so, but rather because they 
sympathized with the German Jews and did not wish to aggravate their 
situation. 

On April 4, Goebbels was able to draw the following balance: 162 
"Atrocity propaganda abroad has abated quite appreciably. Therefore 
the cabinet has resolved to refrain for the time being from renewing the 
boycott, but will keep it in readiness as a standing threat." 

Thus the German Jews remained a means with which Hitler could 
exert pressure abroad. They were to be exploited as such until their 
extermination in the Second World War. 

In the meantime, Hitler continued his Gleichschaltung measures 
toward depriving the German Under of power. On March 31, the "First 
Coordination Law of Lander and Reich" 163 was promulgated, which 
granted the Under Governments legislative powers and reestablished 
both the Landtage and local assemblies in accordance with the election 
results of March 5. 

The "Second Coordination Law of Lander and Reich" 164 followed on 
April 7. Reichsstatthalters were installed in all the German Under and 
given the task of appointing the Under Governments. Hitler personally 
assumed this office in Prussia and naturally appointed Goring, not 
Papen, as Minister-President. 

The other Reichsstatthalters were selected from the ranks of the 
NSDAP Gauleiters, who now also began to steadily assume executive 
power in their respective Gaus, either as Reichsstatthalter or as District 
President (in the larger Under) or Oberprasident (in Prussia). 

Gleichschaltung permeated the cabinet level as well. Hitler's financial 
expert Fritz Reinhardt was appointed State Secretary in the Reich 
Ministry of Finance on April 1. Former Colonel Konstantin Hierl, head 
of the Office for Labor Service (Amt fur Arbeitsdienst) in the NSDAP 
Reich leadership, advanced to State Secretary for Voluntary Labor 
Service. Even in the course of this large-scale political restructuring, 
Hitler did not neglect to deliver his accustomed oratories. 

On April 5, clad in a dark suit, he addressed the German 
Agricultural Council in the Berlin Herrenhaus, 165 above all 
acknowledging the part played by the German peasant in contributing 
to his Machtergreifung: 1 ^ 

Herr President! Gentlemen! 

The fact that we are able today to meet once more under the old black- 
white-red flag and under the symbol of the national renaissance in Germany is 

303 



April 5, 1933 

due in no small part to the German peasant, who has perhaps made the greatest 
contribution to this historic turning point in our destiny. 

Believe me, the uprising which lies behind us would not have been possible 
had not a part of the Volk in the country always stood in our ranks. It would 
have been impossible to gain those initial positions which lent the weight of 
legality to our actions in the cities alone. Thus the German Volk has the German 
peasant to thank for the renewal, the uprising, and hence also the drastic change 
which will lead to the general recuperation of conditions in Germany. 

The fact that German peasantry has today found a great amalgamation will, 
in future, tremendously facilitate the work of the government, for it shall then 
act in the knowledge that the enormous masses of its peasant Volk are standing 
by it. I believe that there is not a single man in this government who is not 
imbued with the most sincere desire for this closest cooperation. We 
simultaneously perceive in the accomplishment of this task the salvation of the 
German Volk in the future, not for 1933 or 1934, but for the most distant times 
to come. We are willing to now initiate and, in the next few years, implement 
the measures which we know will be recognized and judged to be basically right 
by future generations. 

There was no question that the head of the Agricultural Policy 
Office of the NSDAP, Richard Walter Darre, 167 was to assume the 
leadership in all peasant organizations. 

On April 6, Hitler delivered a relatively long address before the 
associated non-local (German) press in Berlin, 168 in which — in addition 
to relating the standard "party narrative"— he went into philosophical 
deliberations on the mission of the press, love of truth, and nihilism. He 
closed by drawing the following conclusion: 

For this very reason we recognize the significance of the press much more 
clearly than our predecessors did. However, may the press also recognize the 
significance of a regime which, by righting general conditions in Germany, is 
bringing about the moral and political, and hence also the economic ascent 
without which the press cannot exist for long. 

Thus I for my part would also like to warmly welcome you, Gentlemen, as 
representatives of the non-local German press and thank you for what you have 
already accomplished in terms of giving our Volk a good education, and I 
warmly invite you to take part in a work which is sure to one day nobly prevail 
in German history. 

For, even though ages of greatness always alternate with ages of 
disintegration in our Volk, the final judgment of history on the actions of 
humanity will nonetheless be passed by the spirit of Lebensbejahung (affirmation 
of life). 

One day it will be our judge, and it will one day be forced to ascertain that 
day and night, in sleep and in waking, one single idea dominated our thoughts: 
Deutschland. 

304 



April 8, 1933 

On April 8, Hitler issued the "Law on the Reconstruction of the 
Professional Civil Service" (Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeam- 
tentums) which in reality constituted a means of removing civil servants 
who were politically unreliable from the National Socialist perspective. 
Those dismissed from office were at least allowed to retain their 
pensions. 

On the same day, Hitler held a major speech at an SA roll call in the 
Berlin Sportpalast. The address was broadcast by every station and could 
thus be heard by the SA forces which had assembled throughout the 
country. Goebbels described the event as "the greatest mass roll call the 
world has ever seen." 

Hitler stated in part as follows: 169 

The great age for which we have hoped fourteen years long has now 
dawned. Germany has now awakened. 170 Everything has come to pass which we, 
sensing and foreseeing, had prophesied in these fourteen years, not due to a gift 
of those around us or the mercy of our adversaries, but rather to our own 
power. 

So did I begin back then to breed, in a small organization, what was to 
become the national substance of the coming Reich: people who detach 
themselves from their surroundings; who thrust far from them all the petty 
things of life which appear so important; who recall once more a new and 
greater task; who have the courage to already openly display that they want to 
have nothing to do with all the eternally dividing and subversive concepts which 
poison the life of our Volk. 

We have fostered in ourselves an allegiance (Gefolgschaftstreue), this blind 
obedience all the others know nothing about and which has given us the 
strength to survive everything. 

We have practiced, too, the virtue of courage. Today millions are streaming 
into our great front. However, they must for the most part first learn what this 
brown army has practiced for many years. They must all first learn to take 
upon themselves what tens of thousands of our comrades have taken upon 
themselves and paid for with their blood, with their lives. If this Movement 
were not so boundless in its discipline, those who today complain of sacrifices 
demanded of them would perhaps have more to complain about. The 
Movement has, by means of utmost discipline, become its own master, with 
Germany in mind. 

We have also instilled the virtue of steadfastness, of eternal perseverance. It 
is to this steadfastness we owe our triumph today. We must learn from this for 
the future. 

Fate wants to test us — whether the German Volk is to live and become great 
or whether the end of our Volk is at hand. 

There is one thing we know now: though centuries may pass, these eagles 
and these symbols are linked with the ascent of Germany for all time. If we 
maintain the same discipline, the same obedience, the same comradeship, and 

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April 8, 1933 

the same unbounded loyalty in the future as well, then nothing will ever be able 
to eradicate this Movement from Germany. 

It was here that Hitler's false doctrine began to take shape: the 
heresy that, given steadfastness, discipline, bravery, and blind obedience, 
anything in the world was attainable, even the most impossible aims. 
The National Socialist Machtergreifung after fourteen years of struggle 
was proof positive, he claimed. 

In this speech, Hitler also once more evoked the image of a god 
enthroned above the clouds (Providence, Fate) who plans to test the 
German Volk to ascertain whether or not it is really brave and steadfast. 
If the Volk passes the test, this god will make it great. If not, its end is 
at hand. This address further marks the beginning of Hitler's obsession 
with characterizing his measures as designed for the "centuries." Soon 
these were to become "millenniums." 

On April 11, Hitler sent a letter to the Reich President on the dual 
occasion of assuming the office of Reichsstatthalter in Prussia and von 
Papen's release from office as Reich Commissar for the Land of Prussia. 

Ostensibly, von Papen was exceedingly pleased about his dismissal 
and had written to Hitler on April 7: "You, Herr Reichskanzler, shall 
now be in a position, as was once Fiirst Bismarck, to coordinate the 
policies of the largest of the German Lander with those of the Reich. 
Now that the new law has given you the opportunity to appoint the 
Prussian Minister-President, I may respectfully ask that you inform the 
Reich President that I most humbly return to his hands the office of 
Reich Commissar for the Land of Prussia. Most respectfully yours, 
Your obedient servant, von Papen." 

Hitler gladly complied with this request and wrote to 
Hindenburg: 171 

My esteemed Herr Reichsprasident! 

Vice Chancellor von Papen has sent me a letter which I enclose and of which 
you will be so kind as to take note. Herr von Papen had already informed me 
some days ago that he had come to an agreement with Minister Goring to the 
effect that he would resign of his own volition as soon as, by means of the new 
law coordinating the policy in the Reich and the Under, the uniformity of the 
leadership of government business in the Reich and Prussia was safeguarded. 

On the evening following the promulgation of the new law providing for 
the appointment of Reichsstatthalters, Herr von Papen saw that this goal had 
been achieved and thus requested that I proceed to appoint the Prussian 
Minister-President, whereby he placed himself fully at the disposal of the Reich 
Government for further services. 

306 



April 11, 1933 

In assuming the temporary leadership of Prussia during this difficult time, 
Herr von Papen has, since January 30, rendered a great service in promoting the 
idea of policy coordination in the Reich and the Lander. His work in the 
cabinet, at the disposal of which he is now placing his entire efforts, is so 
infinitely valuable and my personal relationship with him so warm and friendly 
that I am sincerely looking forward to the great assistance which is thus 
bestowed upon me. 

With the highest esteem, 

Adolf Hitler 

The friendly words which Hitler dedicated to the Vice Chancellor 
served two functions: on the one hand, they were designed as a 
consolation for Hindenburg, in the event that he should begin to 
wonder why Papen was being maneuvered out of Prussia; on the other 
hand, the praise constituted a reward for the willingness with which 
Papen strove to fulfill Hitler's every order. As a rule, Hitler was not 
sparing in his use of flattery and, if necessary, of money and 
endowments as well. 

On the same day, Hitler sent Goring the following telegram: 

With effect as per today's date I hereby appoint you Minister-President of 
Prussia. I may request that you be so kind and assume the duties of this office on 
April 20 in Berlin. 

I am happy for this opportunity to demonstrate to you my trust and my 
gratitude for the services which you have rendered in support of the new 
uprising of the German Volk for over ten years as a fighter in our Movement; 
for the victorious execution of the National Revolution as temporary Minister 
of the Interior in Prussia; and, last but not least, for the unique loyalty with 
which you have bound your destiny to mine. 

Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler 

Goring was in Rome at the time. On the following day, i.e. April 12, 
he, as well as Papen, was received by Pope Pius Xl. The preparations for 
the conclusion of a concordat between the Vatican and the Reich were 
already underway. 

Hitler proceeded by car to Munich on April 12, making a stop in 
Bayreuth, where he spoke with Mrs. Eva Chamberlain. 172 

On April 19, the eve of his birthday, Hitler was given the freedom 
of the Free State of Bavaria and responded with an address to the 
members of the State Government and the City of Munich in the 
Griitznerstube of the Munich City Hall. 173 This state ceremony on the 
part of the Bavarian Council of Ministers, he declared [with reference to 
his imprisonment in the fortress of Landsberg in 1924], had served to 
make good what had once been inflicted upon him. He was happy that 
today all the rest of Germany once more regarded Bavaria with respect. 

307 



April 20, 1933 

For the first time, Hitler's birthday on April 20 was celebrated as a 
national holiday throughout Germany. All public buildings were 
decorated with flags, as were most private dwellings. Hindenburg sent 
his birthday greetings in the following telegram: 174 

On this day I commemorate with sincere gratitude the great patriotic work 
which you have accomplished and which still lies before you. Loyally bound to 
you in the desire to once again lead our Volk und Vaterland onwards and out of 
the misery of these times, I may extend to you my warmest wishes for your 
continuing efforts as well as for your personal welfare. In comradeship I remain, 
Respectfully yours, 

von Hindenburg 

Hugenberg also sent a telegram and published a tribute to the Ftihrer 
in the newspaper Der Tag. Even Monsignor Kaas, who had travelled to 
Rome for the concordat negotiations, sent his "sincere congratulations 
and best wishes, and the assurance of unfailing cooperation." 

Hitler returned to Berlin for a short sojourn on April 21. On April 
22, he was back in Munich, delivering a major speech at a convention of 
NSDAP leaders. 175 Following the customary "party narrative," Hitler 
proclaimed that the National Socialist Movement would withstand any 
and all enemies in order to prevail for millenniums. The Revolution, so 
he claimed, would be finished only when the entire German world had 
been completely reshaped, both internally and externally. 

When Hitler said "the entire German world," he most certainly 
meant the entire world per se. He stated verbatim as follows: 

It is not the ones who are half-hearted and neutral who make history, but 
rather the people who take the struggle upon themselves. In that our Movement 
marched and continues to march with double-quick pace, it has in it the power 
to prevail against every enemy and achieve victory. The Movement has taken on 
two thousand years of German history and culture. It will become the bearer of 
German history and German culture of the future. It will ensure that new, 
unforgettable documents are created which will continue to award the Volk its 
place among the circle of great civilized peoples in world history. We are not 
working for the moment, but for the judgment of millenniums. 

In these last few days of April, Hitler was able to score yet another 
successful power play. Reich Minister Franz Seldte declared in a radio 
speech on April 27 that he had joined the NSDAP and was placing 
himself and the association of former frontline soldiers he headed, the 
Stahlhelm, under Hitler's leadership. 176 The second leader of the 
association, former Lieutenant General Theodor Duesterberg, had been 
forced to resign. 

308 



April 27, 1933 

On the occasion of Hitler's birthday, numerous streets in Germany 
were named after him. Hitler appeared, however, to be little gratified by 
these gestures and issued the following declaration to the press on April 

27: 177 

In numerous communities and cities recently, streets and squares have been 
renamed. Although I greatly appreciate the honor bestowed upon me by 
connecting my name with such streets and squares, all the more I may request 
that one refrain from changing historic names. We must not fall prey to the 
mistake made in 1918. Each generation should connect only that with itself 
which it has itself created. It is our bounden duty to erase the names of the 
November Criminals from our public streets and squares; their former names 
shall be restored to them. In future, the national revolution may only connect 
its name and the names of its leading men to what it achieves on its own. 

Adolf Hitler 

This is one area in which Hitler apparently was unable to enforce his 
will, as is witnessed by the abundance of "Adolf Hitler Streets" and 
"Adolf Hitler Squares" in the 'historic' quarters of German cities 
between 1933 and 1945. 

On April 27, Hitler appointed Rudolf Hess, his long-standing 
secretary and Chairman of the Central Political Commission of the 
NSDAP, as his Deputy in party matters. The decree read as follows: 178 

I hereby appoint the Chairman of the Central Political Commission, party 
comrade Rudolf Hess, as my Deputy and grant him the authorization to make 
decisions on my behalf in all questions of party leadership. 

Adolf Hitler 

Hitler was later to regret having made this appointment. 179 

On April 27, it was also disclosed that Hitler's long-standing 
attorney, Dr. Hans Frank, who had held the post of Bavarian Minister 
of justice since March 1933, had been appointed Reich Commissar for 
the Glekhschaltung of the judiciary in the Lander and the amendment of 
the legal system on April 22. 180 

On April 29, Hitler made an appearance at Starnberg Lake and went 
on a short flight with the giant flying boat 'Dornier Do X', at the time 
the world's largest aircraft. He sat in the cockpit and allegedly took over 
the flight control for periods at a time. 181 

In order to effect the next step toward further consolidating his 
power, Hitler turned to the unions, whose fate had been discussed in the 
newspapers throughout the month of April. Hitler's aim could be no 
other than the full-scale elimination of these "Marxist" organizations. 
However, he intended to lessen the shock to the German workers by 

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May 1, 1933 

means of noble speeches and demonstrations. He knew that, in the 
words of Karl Broger, 182 "the poorest son of Germany" was also its 
"most loyal" and would not, if robbed of his former leaders, be reluctant 
to reply to a "national" call. This "most loyal son of Germany" was to 
be rewarded for his cooperation by a special honor. 

By means of a bill passed on April 10, 183 Hitler had declared May 
Day — formerly the day reserved for the Marxists' anti-capitalist 
demonstrations— the "Day of National Labor." 

Hitler had ordered that momentous events be scheduled in Berlin 
for May 1, 1933. The festivities commenced with a youth rally in the 
Lustgarten at 9:00 a.m. Hitler had arranged that Hindenburg deliver a 
speech so that he might witness for himself the joyful enthusiasm with 
which German youth welcomed the new Germany. Following the 
jubilantly received address given by the Reich President, which had 
ended with a triple chorus of "Hurrah!", Hitler — in a light-colored 
trenchcoat— stepped to the balustrade and shouted: 184 

German boys! German girls! Three cheers for our Reich President, Field 
Marshal von Hindenburg, the great soldier and leader of the World War: Er lebe 
hoch, hoch, hoch! 

It is evident that Hitler took pains to do things in a fashion amenable 
to Hindenburg and thus avoided the three "Sieg Heil!" cheers customary 
with the National Socialists. His ulterior motive also lay in stressing the 
contrast between himself, the lord and master, the omniscient and all- 
organizing Fuhrer, and the Field Marshal, the personification of an age 
now past. 

At noon, Hitler received delegations of workers dispatched from all 
areas of the Reich itself and from Austria, Danzig, and the Saar. In the 
afternoon he introduced the delegations to the Reich President. 185 

In the interim, hundreds of thousands had gathered at the 
Tempelhofer Feld. Goebbels estimated the crowd at one and a half 
million; the Eher Verlag cited the figure as two million. 186 

At 8:00 p.m., Hitler delivered a major speech there, expounding 
once again his old theory that the political and social misery of the 
German Volk was due solely to its lack of unity. His speech climaxed in 
the words: 

German Volk, you are strong when you are one. German Volk, you are not 
second-class, even if the world wants you to be a thousand times over. German 
Volk, forget fourteen years of disintegration and rise up to two thousand years 
of German history! 

310 



May 1, 1933 

Following is a verbatim account of the speech: 187 

German Volksgenossen! 

'Der Mai ist gekommen." m That is how a German folksong puts it. And for 
many centuries, the first day of May was not only symbolic of spring's arrival 
in the countryside; it was also a day of joy, of festive spirits and sentiments. 
There came a time when this day was enlisted for other purposes, and the day 
of new life and hopeful joy was transformed into a day of quarrel and internal 
strife. A dogma which had seized hold of our Volk attempted to transform the 
day of awakening nature, of the visible approach of spring, into a day of hate, of 
fraternal strife, of discord, and of suffering. Centuries passed by this German 
country, and this day seemed more and more destined to document the division 
and disunity of our Volk. But there finally came a time of reflection, too, after 
the deepest suffering had seized our Volk, a time of turning inward and for 
German people to come together again. 

And today we can once more join in singing the old folk song: "Der Mai ist 
gekommen. "Our Volk's awakening has come to pass. The symbol of class 
conflict, of never-ending strife and discord, is now becoming once again the 
symbol of the great unity and uprising of the nation. And thus, for all time to 
come, we have chosen this day when nature awakens as the day of regaining our 
own power and strength and, at the same time, the productive work which 
knows no limits, which is not bound to unions or factories or offices; work we 
wish to recognize and promote wherever it is performed in a positive sense for 
the very existence and the life of our Volk. 

The German Volk has a gruesome crisis behind it. But it is not as though 
this were due to lack of industry, no! Millions in our Volk are working like 
before. Millions of peasants are walking behind their plows as in the past, 
millions of workers are standing at the workbench, hammering to the sound of 
the ringing anvil. Millions in our Volk are working, and millions more want to 
work, but they cannot! Tens of thousands voluntarily put an end to an existence 
which, for them, holds only grief and misery. They have traded it for the next 
world, in which they hope for something more and better. Appalling suffering 
and misfortune have descended upon us and brought, in their wake, 
despondency and even despair. And we now ask ourselves, why? 

It is a political crisis. The German Volk has become disintegrated internally, 
its entire vitality is being used up in the internal struggle. The ability to build on 
the power of one's own will has dwindled, people's faith in the power of the 
individual has diminished. Millions are eyeing the rest of the world in the hope 
that it will bestow upon them good fortune and well-being. The Volk is 
disintegrating, and its vitality, its power to assert its own life, is fading with this 
disintegration. We see the consequences of this class conflict around and within 
us, and we want to learn from this. For there is one thing we have recognized as 
the primary requirement for the recovery of our Volk: the German Volk must 
once again come to know itself! 

The millions of people divided into professions, separated into artificial 
classes which, infested by arrogance of rank and class madness, are no longer able 
to understand each other — they must find their way back together! A 

311 



May 1, 1933 

gigantic, tremendous task — we know it! But when madness has been upheld and 
preached as a political idea for seventy years, when the destruction of the 
Volksgemeinschaft has been the political rule for seventy years, then it is 
difficult to seek to change people's minds overnight. We must not allow this to 
let us become despondent and despair. What one man has built, another can tear 
down; what human madness once created can be overcome by the power of 
reason. 

We know that this process of coming to know and understand each other 
cannot be a matter of weeks or months or even of a mere few years. We do, 
however, have the unshakable will to accomplish this great task before German 
history, we have the resolution to lead German people back together, and if 
necessary, to force them back together. 

That is the meaning of May Day which shall be celebrated in Germany from 
now on and throughout the centuries so that all those who are active in the great 
machinery of our productive national work may join together and extend their 
hands to one another once a year in the realization that nothing can be 
accomplished unless everyone contributes his share of work and efforts. And 
thus, as our motto for this day, we have chosen the sentence, "Honor the work, 
and respect the worker!" 

For millions, it is difficult to overcome all the hate and misunderstandings 
which have been artificially cultivated in the past and find their way back 
together. There is one realization which allows us to tread this path more easily. 
Take a person who is working, wherever it may be — he should and must not 
forget that his Volksgenosse, who is doing his duty just like him, is 
indispensable; that the nation does not subsist on the work of a government, of 
a certain class or in the products of its intelligence, but rather lives from the 
mutual and harmonious work of all! When millions believe that the type of 
work itself is any indication of the worthiness of those who execute it, this is a 
bitter mistake. There are many tens of thousands among us who want to make 
respect for the individual dependent upon the type of work he does. No! Not 
what he does, but rather how he does it must be the decisive factor. The fact that 
millions among us are industrious year in, year out, without ever being able to 
hope to gain riches, or even only to achieve a life without cares — that should 
oblige everyone to support them all the more. For it is their idealism and their 
devotion alone which make it possible for the whole to exist and live. It would 
be a sorry fate if today this idealism in our Volk were to fade and the value of 
an individual were to be judged solely by the external fortunes of life which have 
fallen to his lot. The value of our Volk would then no longer be great and its 
term of existence would not be long. 

It is useless to explain to the worker that he is important or to prove to the 
peasant the necessity of his existence; useless to approach the intellectual, the 
mental worker, in order to make him understand the importance of what he 
does. It is necessary to teach each rank and class the significance of the other 
ranks and classes. And therefore we want to go forth into the cities to proclaim 
to them the necessity and the essentiality of the German peasant and go out into 
the country and to our thinkers and teach them the significance of the German 
working class. We want to go to the worker and to the peasant to teach them 

312 



May 1, 1933 

that there can be no German life unless there is a German spirit; that they all 
must unite to form a great community: spirit, mind and hand, worker, peasant, 
and burgher. 

This First of May shall also convey to the German Volk the realization that 
industry and work alone do not make up life if they are not wed to the power 
and the will of a people. Industry and work, power and will — only if they join 
forces, only when the strong fist of the nation is raised to protect and shelter the 
work, only then can real blessings result. And this day shall also make the 
German Volk conscious of one thing: German Volk! You are strong when you 
are united, when you banish from your heart the spirit of class conflict and your 
discord. You can place an enormous power behind your work if you unite that 
work with your entire Volkstum's will to live! 

We dream of a State of the German Nation which is capable of once more 
securing our Volk's daily bread on earth, and we know that this requires the 
concentrated force of the nation. Though today Marxism scoffs that this will 
never work, we will provide proof that it does. My friends! Things that are great 
in this world are never free. One must fight bitterly for everything; similarly, it 
will not be an easy matter for the uprising of the Volk to become reality: it, too, 
requires an inner struggle. We should not complain today; we know that we will 
earn this uprising, will earn the freedom of our Volk. And then it will be proven 
that Marxism was no more than mere theory and, as such, attractive and 
seductive, but in reality incapable of bringing real profit and good fortune to a 
people. 

This First of May shall document that we do not intend to destroy, but 
rather plan to build up. One should not choose the most beautiful spring day of 
the year as a symbol of fight, but as a symbol of constructive work; not as an 
embodiment of decay and thus disintegration, but only of volkisch solidarity and 
thus of rising up. It is no coincidence that our opponents, who claim to have 
been celebrating this day for seventy years now and who have been in power in 
Germany for fourteen years have not, in spite of everything, succeeded in 
gaining hold of the German Volk on this day as we have done from the very 
beginning. The Volk unconsciously perceives in its core that any celebration of 
the Marxist type was contrary to the springtide season. It did not want hate, it 
did not want struggle, it wanted uplifting! And today the Volk senses it: the First 
of May has recovered its true, intrinsic meaning. That is the reason why millions 
throughout Germany are joyfully pouring forth to bear witness to a will which 
desires to take part in the reconstruction of the nation. And while we observe 
this holiday for the first time today, let us call to mind our aims for the time 
which lies before us: without faltering shall we struggle to ensure that the power 
captured by the new concept, the new political faith in Germany, will never 
again fade, but instead grow stronger and stronger. 

We want to fight to ensure that this new idea rises above all of Germany and 
gradually captivates the entire German Volk in its spell. With courage and 
determination, we want to defend this flag of the resurrection of our Volk 
against anyone who believes he can tear it down. We want to reawaken our 
Volk's self-esteem and self-confidence and attempt to increase them on a 
permanent basis. We know the time which lies behind us and those who 

313 



May 1, 1933 

typified it. They intentionally inoculated our Volk with the idea that it was, as 
a whole, inferior in the world, incapable of great deeds, not worthy of the rights 
accorded all others. They artificially cultivated inferiority complexes because 
this corresponded to the inferiority of the parties which seduced this Volk for 
long years. We want to release the Volk from this spell, want to continually 
impress upon it this belief: 

German Volk! You are not second-class, even if the world wishes it so a 
thousand times over. You are not of lesser value, of lesser significance. German 
Volk, remember what you are, remember your past and the accomplishments of 
your fathers, of your very own generation! Forget fourteen years of 
disintegration, and rise to two thousand years of German history! 

We have called out to you this way, my Volksgenossen throughout 
Germany, from the first day onwards to instill in all of you this conviction from 
a feeling of inner solidarity: Germans! You are a strong Volk if you will yourself 
to be strong! 

The millions who are demonstrating in Germany today will return home 
with the feeling of a newly won inner power and unity. I know, my comrades, 
that tomorrow your tread will be firmer again than it was yesterday. For all of 
us feel it: today it may be possible to rape the nation, to put it in chains — but it 
is no longer possible to break or humiliate it! Thus it is also our desire on this 
day to fortify the confidence not only in yourself, German Volk, no, but the 
confidence in your government, too, which feels bound to you and is a part of 
you, which belongs to you, which fights with you for your life, which has no 
other purpose but to make you, German Volk, free and happy once more. 

And finally, today our solidarity is to be documented for all time by an act. 
When we first presented the idea of compulsory labor service to the public, the 
representatives of the dying Marxist world raised a great outcry, declaring, "That 
is a new attack on the proletariat, an attack on work, an attack on the life of the 
worker!" Why did they do that? They knew very well that it would never be an 
attack on work and much less an attack on the worker, but merely an attack on 
a terrible prejudice, namely that manual labor is inferior. We want to wipe out 
this prejudice in Germany. At a time when millions in our ranks live without 
any comprehension of the significance of manual labor, we want to bring the 
German Volk, by means of compulsory labor service, to the realization that 
manual labor does not discredit, does not degrade, but rather, just as any other 
activity, does honor to him who performs it faithfully and honestly. 

It remains our firm decision to lead every single German, be he who he may, 
whether rich or poor, whether the son of scholars or the son of factory workers, 
to experience manual labor once in his lifetime so that he can come to know it, 
so that he can here one day more easily take command because he has learned 
obedience in the past. We intend by no means to eliminate Marxism only in an 
external sense. We are resolved to remove its very foundations. We want to 
spare coming generations the mental confusion it causes. 

Mental and manual workers must never be allowed to be on opposite sides. 
For this reason we are exterminating that feeling of arrogance which so readily 
befalls the individual and makes him look down upon comrades who "only" 
stand at the workbench or the machine or walk behind the plow. Not only must 

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May 1, 1933 

every German become acquainted at least once with this type of work, but vice- 
versa, too: the manual worker must realize that mental work is also necessary. 
And he must be taught that no one has the right to look down upon others, to 
imagine oneself something better; rather, each must be willing to join the great 
community. 

This year for the first time we will turn this great ethical concept, which we 
connect with the Arbeitsdienst, into reality. 189 And we know that when forty 
years have passed, the term manual work will have undergone a change in 
meaning for millions of people, just as the term Landsknecht has come to be 
replaced by the concept of the German soldier. 

This year we will also accomplish the great task of liberating creative 
initiative from the disastrous influences of majority resolutions. Not only in 
parliament, but in the economy as well. We know that our economy cannot 
advance unless a synthesis can take place between the freedom of the creative 
spirit and the obligation to the Volk as a whole. Thus it will also be our task to 
give to the treaties the meaning they deserve. Man does not live for the sake of 
treaties; treaties are there in order to make it possible for man to live. And 
finally, this year we will endeavor to finish the first lap on the way to an organic 
management of the economy, and we will proceed on the basic realization that 
there is no advancement which does not begin at the root of national, volkisch 
and economic life: the peasant. There begins the path which leads to the worker 
and further on to the intellectual. 

Thus we will begin with our husbandman and, as first priority, lead his 
business back to health. We know that this is the foremost prerequisite for the 
recovery of the rest of the economy. The opposite has been done now for 
fourteen years. And we are witnessing the results. It has helped neither the urban 
dweller nor the worker nor the Mittelstand— they have all been forced to the 
brink of destruction. 

And this leads to yet another task: the elimination of unemployment by a 
program providing employment. We are dividing this employment program 
into two parts. First of all, there is private provision of employment. Before the 
year is over, we will have set out to accomplish a work of greatness, a work 
which will put German structures and buildings back in order and thus provide 
work for hundreds of thousands. At this time and in this place, we want to direct 
our appeal to the German Volk for the first time: German Volk! Do not believe 
that the problem of providing employment will be solved in the stars. You 
yourself must lend a hand toward solving it. You must do everything you can 
out of understanding and trust to provide work. Each and every person has the 
duty not to hesitate to provide that which he requires; not to wait to produce 
what he will once have to produce. Every entrepreneur, every property owner, 
every businessman, every private person has the duty to bear German labor in 
mind. Since today the world is circulating untrue allegations against us, since 
German labor is being denounced, we must expect each German to take on his 
work. This is an appeal which, directed to millions of individuals, is best able to 
provide work for millions of people. We will also attempt to provide public 
employment opportunities on a large scale within the current year. We are 
installing a program which we do not want to pass on to posterity, the program 

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May 1, 1933 

of building a new road system, a gigantic undertaking which will require 
billions. We will sweep away resistance and make a great beginning. We will 
thereby introduce a series of public work projects which will help to steadily 
decrease the unemployment rate. 

We want to work and we will work! However, in the end everything 
depends upon the German Volk itself, on you, on the confidence you place in 
us; it depends on the force of your belief in the national State. Only when you 
all unite in the single will to save Germany will the German individual be able 
to find his salvation in Germany. We know that we still have tremendous 
difficulties to overcome. We also know that all human labors are doomed to fail 
if they are not blessed by the light of Providence. But we do not belong to those 
who comfortably rely on a hereafter. Nothing will be given us for free. Just as, 
for us, the road from the past fourteen years to the present day has been a road 
of incessant struggle, a road which often led us near despair, the road to a better 
future will also be difficult. The world is persecuting us, it is turning against us, 
it does not wish to recognize our right to live, does not want to admit that we 
have a right to protect our homeland. 

My German Volksgenossen! The fact that the world is so against us is all the 
more reason why we must become a unified whole; all the more reason for us 
to continually assure the world: you can do whatever you want! But you will 
never break us, never force us to submit to any yoke! You will no longer be able 
to wipe out the cry for equal rights in our Volk! The German Volk has come to 
its senses. It will no longer tolerate people in its midst who are not for Germany! 
We want to earn the renewed ascent of the nation by honest means, through our 
industry, our persistence, our unshakable will! We are not asking of the 
Almighty, "Lord, make us free!" We want to take an active part, to work, to 
accept one another as brothers and unite in a common struggle so that one day 
the hour will come when we can step before the Lord and have the right to ask 
of Him, "Lord, You can see that we have changed. The German Volk is no 
longer a Volk of infamy, shame, self-reproach, faintheartedness, and little faith. 
No, Lord, the German Volk is once again strong in its will, strong in its 
persistence, strong in bearing any sacrifice. Lord, we will not give You up! Now 
bless our fight for our freedom and thus our German Volk und Vaterland!" 

In this closing section of his speech, Hitler led the German Volk, in 
a manner of speaking, before the heavenly throne of the 'German God 
above the clouds,' who was to judge whether it had mended its ways. 
Endowed with godlike authority, Hitler then gave the Germans general 
absolution for every sin committed in the past and, using nearly the 
same words Jacob once used, 190 he asked for God's blessing for the 
approaching freedom fight of the German Volk. 

This groundwork having been laid, it was practically only a matter 
of executing God's will when Hitler undermined the work of the devil 
on May 2 and ordered that all of the offices of the evil Marxist union 
organizations be shut down and their assets seized. 

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May 2, 1933 

To erase any remaining doubts as to the legality of this procedure, 
the following official notice was published: 191 

Competent sources have reported that the action taken against the free 
unions is definitely in line with the battle against Marxism proclaimed by the 
Fiihrer, Adolf Hitler. The Reich Government has taken the position that one 
cannot allow Marxism to hide behind the unions and continue the battle in this 
camouflage. The measures were not directed against the worker as such but 
rather were to serve the purpose of securing the funds and ensuring full rights 
for the worker. 

These domestic measures did not distract Hitler from his foreign 
policy concerns in the slightest. As early as April 28, he had dispatched 
the German Ambassador, Nadolny, to Geneva with eight proposals for 
amendments to the British plan for gradually restoring equality of rights 
to Germany. The tone and contents were such that a consensus was 
impossible, and the Western Powers' reaction was, as Hitler had 
naturally foreseen, a staunch refusal. In any case, he had little use in the 
future for too much willingness on the part of the West to accommodate 
his wishes. For the time being, Hitler was more interested in the East 
and devoted his attention to the Polish Ambassador in Berlin, Alfred 
Wysocki, to whom he made conciliating assurances in a conference on 
May 2. 192 Behind the scenes, he was preparing a German-Polish 
friendship treaty. 

Hitler granted Sir John Foster Fraser of the London Daily Telegraph 
an interview 193 in which he mainly defended himself against the 
accusation that Germany wanted war. 

No one in Germany who went through the War wants to repeat that 
experience. The physical training of young German men is [rather] designed to 
revive their masculine virtues (Mannestugenden) and their love of the Vaterland 
and to strengthen them in a moral sense. 

He hopes, as he stated, that the appeal of the Treaty of Versailles can be 
effected by peaceful means. The plan of German overseas expansion which 
perhaps existed before the War had been relinquished. Germany did not wish, 
he stated, to enter into competition with England at sea. The fate of Germany 
was dependent not on colonies or dominions, but on its Eastern borders. 

One must admit that Hitler here stated the aims of his future foreign 
policy in terms as unvarnished as those he used in Mein Kampf no 
overseas expansionism, but instead expansionism in Europe— beyond 
Germany's borders to the East! 

Hitler had stressed in numerous speeches that no title existed which 
was greater than his own name. 194 Apparently this fact had not penetrat- 

317 



May 4, 1933 

ed to the professors of the Stuttgart Institute of Technology. They had 
the audacity to offer Hitler an honorary doctorate, perhaps on the 
assumption that conferring this honor upon Hitler might make him 
more socially acceptable, as this had been customary practice with 
numerous Social Democratic Ministers. Hitler gave them a proper 
rebuff in the following official notice: 195 

Berlin, May 4, 1933 

Adolf Hitler has informed the Board of the Technische Hochschule 
Stuttgart that he requests that it refrain from nominating him for an honorary 
doctor, because he does not contemplate accepting honorary doctorates as a 
matter of principle. 

As a consolation to those who insisted on mourning the loss of the 
unions, Hitler issued the following proclamation to establish a 
foundation for "victims of labor" on May 4: 196 

A memorable day has passed: the first holiday celebrating national labor. In 
overwhelming rallies which have never before seen their equal, the German 
Volk avowed its respect for German labor and the German workers. This 
miraculous avowal was eloquently expressed in thousands of demonstrations 
throughout Germany. But this historic day shall not be allowed to pass without 
the elemental expression of the Volk's emotions having found a lasting 
expression and without this idealistic avowal having found its material reflection 
in a gesture of gratitude. 

Seven German miners, members of the working class to whom the lot of the 
most difficult work has fallen, were the victims of a dreadful accident on the eve 
of May 1 and fell on the field of labor. 197 Widows and orphans have been robbed 
of their providers. The death of these heroes should give the entire nation 
occasion to establish a foundation out of which, from now on, the families of all 
soldiers of labor who fall on the field while fighting for their daily bread will be 
guaranteed sufficient means of existence. It must no longer be allowed to happen 
in future that such victims of labor must rely on the meager benefits of public 
welfare. Rather, it is the bounden duty of all Germans — and in particular of 
those with means at their disposal — to do their best and everything in their 
power. 

I hereby call upon you to establish a foundation for the victims of labor! In 
the future it shall provide support for the surviving dependents of all German 
workers who have met with accidental death in their trades. This foundation 
cannot be too large. It must become a visible symbol of the respect of the 
German Volk for national labor and a monument to the indissoluble 
community of all classes and ranks. 

Contributions to this foundation can be paid into the account "Foundation 
for the Victims of Labor" at the Reichs-Kreditgesellschaft, Berlin W 8, Account 
No. Hlb 49. 

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May 4, 1933 

The appropriation of the funds will be determined by an honorary 
committee composed of the following persons: Walther Schuhmann, Fritz 
Thyssen, and Dr. Emil Georg von Stauss. 

Berlin, May 4, 1933 The Reich Chancellor: Adolf Hitler 

Indefatigable in his speechmaking, Hitler spoke at a rally of 45,000 
SA men in Kiel on May 17. 198 Just as Christ once said to his Apostles, 
"You are in me, and I am in you, 199 Hitler imparted to his followers in 
the SA: 

Just as I am yours, so you are mine! Just as I have no other aim but to make 
Germany strong and free once more, so must your will fuse with mine. You 
once stood behind me, disciplined and faithful, when we were stripped of our 
brown shirts. You kept calm then. Today I am also asking you to bear that in 
mind and remain calm in the future. 

I believe that, when we look back fourteen years and draw a comparison 
with today's miracle, we have reason to be satisfied. 

To expect more from the future would be unjust. What has come to pass in 
these three months must be rated as a miracle, and what will come to pass in 
future should not be any less. Our struggle goes on! 

Comrades! We are now approaching a difficult time. The whole of life will 
never be anything but a struggle. You were born of the struggle, so do not hope 
for peace tomorrow or the day after. 

We must continue our battle for the inner self of the German being. We 
desire neither war nor bloodshed, but we do want the right to life, the right to 
freedom. 

It is our desire that the German Volk shall not be treated as a pariah. 

The future will be hard. It will be a great success for our flag if you remain 
what you have been in the past: the ancient, iron Guard of the Revolution, 
faithful and disciplined as was once the soldier of the German Volk. 

On May 10, Hitler announced the institution of the German Labor 
Front with the following decree: 200 

I hereby appoint the staff leader of the Political Organization of the 
NSDAP, Dr. Robert Ley, as leader of the Deutsche Arbeitsfront. I appoint 
Gauleiter Forster (Danzig) as leader of the associations of salaried employees. 
The leader of the NSBO, Schuhmann, is hereby appointed leader of the 
workers' associations. 

Berlin, May 10, 1933 Adolf Hitler 

On the afternoon of the same day, Hitler delivered a lengthy speech 
at the first congress of the German Labor Front in the conference hall 
of the Prussian Council of State. 201 

Here he indulged in endless "philosophical" deliberations on the 
business structures in the economy, the depersonalization of property, 
and, as a matter of course, the "Marxist" union organizations. 

319 



May 10, 1933 

Marxism as a world view of decomposition has with keen insight recognized 
that the trade union movement offered the possibility of waging the offensive 
against the State and against human society in the future with an absolutely 
devastating weapon. But not, of course, to help the worker — what is the worker 
in any country to these international evangelists? Nothing at all! They don't 
even see him. They themselves are not workers, they are litterateurs, alien to the 
Volk, an alien mob (volksfremd.es Pack)! 

The speech also contained the obligatory attacks on the November 
Criminals. In point of fact, Hitler still owed a trial to these alleged 
traitors; he had wanted to see their "heads roll." 202 However, he seemed 
unable to locate the responsible individuals. But allegedly their ranks 
had swelled to the extent that he would have been forced to "strike tens 
of thousands dead." 

The sum of want, suffering and misery which has passed through millions 
of small workers' families and small households since then [1918] is something 
for which the Criminals of November 1918 cannot be excused. So they have 
nothing to complain about. We have not taken revenge. Had we wanted to take 
revenge, we would have had to strike tens of thousands dead. 

In the further course of his protracted speech, Hitler characterized 
himself as the only one who really knew all of the classes in Germany; 
hence he was the only person who could be their "honest broker." 203 

Personally, I am against accepting any honorary titles, and I do not believe 
that one will ever be able to accuse me of much in this respect. I do not do what 
is not absolutely necessary for me to do. I would never want to have visiting 
cards printed with the titles which are so ceremoniously conferred upon people 
in this earthly world. I would not want to have anything else on my gravestone 
but my name. But perhaps my own peculiar biography has made me more 
capable than anyone else of understanding and comprehending the essence and 
life as a whole in the various German classes — not because I have been able to 
look down on this life from above, but because I have experienced it myself, 
because I have stood in the midst of this life, because Fate, on a whim or perhaps 
guided by Providence, threw me into this broad mass of Volk and people. 
Because I myself worked for years in the building trade and was forced to earn 
my own living. And because I once again stood in this broad mass for years as 
an ordinary soldier, and because life then raised me into the other classes of our 
Volk so that I also know these better than countless others who are born into 
these classes. Thus perhaps Fate chose me above all others to be — I may apply 
this term to myself— the honest broker, a broker honest to all sides. I have no 
personal interest; I am neither dependent upon the State nor upon a public 
office; neither am I dependent upon the economy or industry or any kind of 
union. I am an independent man, and I have set myself no other goal than to 
serve the German Volk to the best of my power and ability — and above all to 
serve the millions of people who have perhaps been hit hardest thanks to their 

320 



May 10, 1933 

simple trust, their ignorance, and the baseness of their former leaders. I have 
always held to the opinion that there is nothing finer than to be an advocate of 
those who are not capable of defending themselves. 

However, Hitler only set himself up as an advocate of the oppressed 
Germans whenever it suited his plans at home or abroad. He chose to 
ignore the fate of the Germans whom he sent to concentration camps 
and who were similarly "not capable of defending themselves," just as he 
was blind to the lot of foreign people. Without pausing for breath, 
Hitler went on to attack the intellectuals he so despised: 

I know this broad mass of my Volk and would like to say only one thing to 
our intellectuals: any Reich built only upon the classes of intellect is a weak 
construction! 

I know this intellect: perpetually brooding, perpetually inquiring, but also 
perpetually uncertain, perpetually hesitating, vacillating, never firm! He who 
would construct a Reich on these intellectual classes alone will find that he is 
building on sand. It is no accident that religions are more stable than the various 
forms of government. They generally tend to sink their roots deeper into the 
earth; they would be inconceivable without this broad mass of people. I know 
that the intellectual classes are all too easily seized by the arrogance that rates this 
Volk according to the standards of its knowledge and its so-called wisdom; yet 
there are things here which even the understanding of the prudent 204 fails to see 
because it is unable to see them. This broad mass of people is certainly often dull 
and certainly backward in some respects, not as nimble, not as witty, not as 
intellectual. But it does have one thing: it has faith, it has persistence, it has 
stability. 

Obviously Hitler could more easily identify with these qualities 
than with sober "intellectual" reflection, a sound knowledge of history 
and a detached assessment of Germany's power in comparison to the 
power of other nations. Hitler was incapable of praising the German 
workers as he had the peasants on April 5, 205 for the former had played 
only a minor role in his ascent to power. He did, however, want to 
mention the fact that even "lesser Volksgenossen" had contributed to his 
triumph. 

I can clearly say: the triumph of this Revolution never would have come had 
my companions, the broad mass of our lesser Volksgenossen, not stood behind 
us with tremendous faith and unshakable persistence. I could not imagine 
anything better for our Germany than if it were to succeed in leading these 
people who are now standing outside our fighting ranks into the new State and 
shape them into a sturdy foundation for the new State. 

The poet once said: "Germany will be at its height when its poorest sons are 
its most faithful citizens." I have now come to know these poorest sons for four 
and a half years as musketeers in the Great World War; I came to know those 

321 



May 10, 1933 

who perhaps had nothing to gain for themselves, and who were heroes simply 
by virtue of the call of their blood, out of a feeling of belonging to their Volk. 
No Volk has more right to erect monuments to its unknown musketeer as much 
as our German Volk. This unshakable Guard which stood firm in countless 
battles, which never wavered and never yielded, which gave us a thousand 
demonstrations of tremendous courage, of faith, of willingness to sacrifice, of 
discipline, and of obedience, is one we must conquer for the State, one we must 
win over for the coming German Reich, our Third Reich. This is perhaps one 
of the most valuable things we can give this Guard. 

Because I know this Volk better than anyone else who also, at the same 
time, knows the rest of the Volk, in this case I am not only willing to assume 
the role of honest broker, but am also happy that Fate is able to cast me for this 
part. I shall never in my life have greater pride than when, at the end of my days, 
I am able to say: I have gained the German worker for the German Reich. 

On May 12, Hitler visited the 76-year-old Benedictine abbot 
Albanus Schachleitner, who had retired to live in Feilnbach near Bad 
Aibling, and congratulated him on the 50-year anniversary of his taking 
orders. 206 Schachleitner had variously come out in public support of 
Hitler and thus was particularly suited to influence the Catholic 
population as a propaganda figure, much as the military pastor and later 
Reich Bishop Ludwig Mtiller served to sway the Lutherans to the 
National Socialist cause. 

Hitler had convened the Reichstag for May 17 in order to submit a 
statement of foreign policy on behalf of the government. This act of 
state was prompted by the May 11 resolution of the Geneva 
Disarmament Conference according the German Wehrverbande, i.e. the 
SA, the SS, the Stahlhelm, etc., military status in the planned 
restructuring of the Armed Forces. At that time the Western Powers 
intended to install a system of militias throughout Europe designed to 
take the place of the standing armies. 

Hitler was an avowed enemy of any type of militia, as he had already 
made clear in Mein Kampf. 107 Soldiers conscripted for a two-year period 
were, to his mind, the only force with which he could accomplish his 
plans of conquering the East. 

The Geneva resolution of May 11 did not, however, constitute the 
sole reason for Hitler's foreign policy speech of May 17: he also needed 
an alibi for his planned withdrawal from the League of Nations and the 
Disarmament Conference. 

This speech was the first of many similar speeches to follow until 
1939. On each respective occasion, Hitler went into great detail in 
illustrating how faithfully Germany had fulfilled its disarmament obliga- 

322 



May 17, 1933 

tions under the Treaty of Versailles and, on the other hand, how 
disgracefully the other powers had behaved, above all France and its 
allies. He juggled figures and columns as he was so fond of doing, citing 
the millions of German rifles, carbines, machine guns, pieces of artillery, 
and shells which had been destroyed and enumerating, in contrast, 
nearly every single aircraft, reserve aircraft, armored vehicle, and gas 
grenade in the other nations' stockpiles. 

Notwithstanding the fact that most of the figures could not be 
verified, they served their purpose of impressing his listeners. In other 
respects, it may be noted that Hitler's arguments were by no means pure 
invention and not totally lacking justification. The Treaty of Versailles 
did indeed contain an abundance of petty and degrading provisions. The 
eastern border had been drawn haplessly, and in the West a 
demilitarized zone stretched from the border to fifty kilometers east of 
the Rhine — a landstrip over which Germany did not have full 
sovereignty. The Treaty of Versailles was a conglomerate of half- 
measures for both Germany and its neighbors. It is revealing to note 
that Hitler was not alone in referring to it as the Disgraceful Treaty of 
Versailles (Schandvertrag) . Foch, the victorious French Marshal, 208 
shared this view and fought what he held to be the injustice done to 
France in establishing the 1919 borders until he died. He further 
regarded the demilitarization of the Rhineland as worthless unless the 
bridges over the Rhine were under the control of France or the allied 
powers; later, his views were verified by events. 

From France's perspective, the regular army of 100,000 men which 
the Treaty of Versailles had accorded Germany represented an 
imminent threat, for every single officer and man was trained as a cadre 
leader or subleader and thus together this body formed the framework 
for a future conscription army. This logic lay behind France's proposals 
for establishing militias and its refusal to disarm. Placards posted 
throughout France in 1932 proclaimed: "France has been through four 
invasions in 100 years. France does not need to disarm!" 209 

In the course of 1932 and 1933, the Western Powers had come to 
realize that it was necessary to amend the Treaty of Versailles and hence 
had initiated negotiations to find an acceptable solution. Were they to 
reach consensus, Hitler would have been robbed of arguments for his 
planned use of force, and thus he summoned up all of his powers of oral 
persuasion in order to prevent any agreement from being reached. True 
to his belief that domestic and foreign policy were of one cloth, he had 
acquainted himself with the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles as 

323 



May 17, 1933 

thoroughly as he had previously gained a complete grasp of the articles 
of the Weimar Constitution. He intended to justify his military plans by 
citing the injustice of the Treaty of Versailles, thereby setting himself up 
as the apostle of peace and branding the other nations as the guilty 
parties who had been unwilling to accept his well-meant proposals. 
Hitler deployed this tactical approach for the first time on May 17, 1933. 

His speech also marked the beginning of another new phase: on May 
17, Hitler spoke to a Reichstag which, although still containing 
representatives of the SPD, the Center, and the right-wing parties in 
addition to the NSDAP, for the first time had to play the new role 
Hitler had assigned to it: that of acting as forum for the speeches he was 
delivering not only to the German Volk, but to the entire world. 

This already became evident in the opening sentences of his speech 
to the Reichstag, which follows verbatim: 210 

Deputies, Ladies and Gentlemen of the German Reichstag! 

In the name of the Reich Government I have asked the Reichstag President 
to convene the Reichstag so that I may take a stand before this forum on the 
questions which today affect not only our Volk but the entire world. 

The problems which you know so well are of such great significance that 
not only political pacification, but the economic salvation of all are contingent 
upon finding a satisfactory solution. 

When I express the desire on behalf of the German Government that the 
handling of these problems be totally removed from the sphere of passion, I do 
this not least of all in the realization dominating us all, namely that the crisis of 
our time owes its deepest origin alone to those passions which dimmed the 
insight and intelligence of the nations after the War. 

For all of the problems causing today's unrest lie anchored in the 
deficiencies of the Peace Treaty, which was unable to provide a judicious, clear 
and reasonable solution for the most important and most decisive questions of 
the time for all ages to come. Neither the national problems nor the economic — 
not to mention the legal — problems and demands of the peoples were solved by 
virtue of this Treaty in a manner which would allow them to withstand the 
criticism of reason for all time. Thus it is understandable that the idea of a 
revision is not only an integral part of the lasting side effects of the consequences 
of this Treaty; indeed, the necessity of revision was foreseen by its authors and 
hence given a legal foundation in the Treaty itself. 

When I deal briefly here with the problems this Treaty should have solved, 
I am doing so because the failure in these areas inevitably led to the subsequent 
situations under which the political and economic relations between nations 
have been suffering since then. 

The political problems are as follows: in the course of many centuries, the 
European nations and their borders evolved from concepts which were based 
exclusively upon the idea of a political State as such. With the triumphant 
assertion of the national idea and the principle of nationalities in the course of 

324 



May 17, 1933 

the past century, the seeds of numerous conflicts were sown as a result of the 
failure of States which had arisen under different circumstances to take these 
new ideas and ideals into account. At the end of the Great War, there could have 
been no greater task for a real peace conference than to undertake, in the clear 
recognition of this fact, a territorial and political reorganization of the European 
States which would do justice to this principle to the greatest possible degree. 
The more closely the borders between peoples coincided with the borders 
between States, the more this would have done away with a whole series of 
future potential conflicts. In fact, this territorial reorganization of Europe, 
taking into account the actual borders between peoples, would have constituted 
the solution in history which, with a view to the future, might have allowed 
both victors and vanquished to perceive that the blood sacrifices of the Great 
War were perhaps not completely in vain, for they might have served the world 
as the foundations for a real peace. 

As it was, solutions were chosen — partly due to ignorance, partly to passion 
and hatred — which contained the perpetual seed of fresh conflicts in their very 
lack of logic and fairness. 

The economic problems the conference was to have solved are as follows: 
The present economic situation in Europe is characterized by the 
overpopulation of the European West and, in the land comprising this territory, 
by the dearth of certain raw materials which are indispensable for the customary 
standard of living in these very areas with their ancient culture. Had one wished 
to bring about a certain pacification of Europe for the humanly foreseeable 
future, it would have been necessary — instead of relying upon the unproductive 
and dangerous concepts of penance, punishment, reparation, etc. — to rely upon 
and take into account the deep realization that lack of means of existence has 
always been a source of conflict between peoples. Instead of preaching the 
precepts of destruction, one would have had to initiate a reorganization of the 
international, political and economic relations which would have done justice to 
the vital needs of each individual people to the fullest possible extent. 

It is unwise to deprive a people of the economic resources necessary for its 
existence without taking the fact into consideration that the population 
dependent upon them must of necessity continue to live in this territory. It is 
absurd to believe that one is performing a useful service to other peoples by 
economically destroying a people numbering 65 million. Peoples who would 
proceed in such a manner would very soon, under the laws of nature linking 
cause and effect, come to experience that they would be subjected to the same 
catastrophe which they intended to impose upon another people. One day the 
concept of reparations and their enforcement will become a classic example in 
the history of nations of the extent to which disregard for international welfare 
can be damaging to all. 

As it was, reparation politics could be financed only by German exports. 
The export industry of the creditor states was made to suffer to the same extent 
to which Germany, because of the reparations, was regarded as a sort of 
international export company. Hence the economic advantages of the reparation 
payments could bear no relation to the damage caused to the individual 
economies by these reparations. 

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May 17, 1933 

The attempt to avoid this development by compensating for the limits 
placed on German exports by means of granting loans to make the payments 
possible lacked circumspection and was ultimately wrong. For the conversion of 
political debts to private obligations led to an interest requirement, the 
fulfillment of which unavoidably produced the same results. However, the 
worst of the matter was that the development of domestic economic life was 
artificially checked and destroyed. Competition in the world markets by a 
constant undercutting of prices led to an overintensification of rationalizing 
measures in the economy. 

The millions of our unemployed constitute the final consequence of this 
development. Were one inclined to limit the reparation obligations to deliveries 
of goods, this would result in no less substantial damage to the domestic 
production of the peoples profiting from them. This is because deliveries of 
goods in the magnitude in question are not conceivable without acute danger to 
the continued existence of the peoples' own production. 

The Treaty of Versailles is to blame for having inaugurated a period in 
which the mathematical genius of finance is bringing about the demise of 
economic reason. 

Germany has fulfilled these obligations imposed upon it, in spite of their 
inherent lack of reason and the foreseeable consequences, so faithfully as to be 
virtually suicidal. 

The international economic crisis is the indisputable proof of the 
correctness of this statement. 

The plan of restoring a general international sense of justice was no less 
destroyed by the Treaty. 

In order to justify all of the measures of this edict, Germany had to be 
branded as the guilty party. This is a procedure which is, however, just as simple 
as it is impossible. This would mean that in future, the vanquished will always 
bear the blame for conflicts, for the victor will always be in a position to simply 
establish this as a fact. 

This procedure therefore assumed a terrible significance because, at the same 
time, it served as a reason for transforming the relative strength existing at the 
end of this War to a lasting legal status. The concepts of victor and vanquished 
were hence made to constitute the foundations of a new international legal and 
social order. 

The degradation of a great people to a second-rate, second-class nation was 
proclaimed in the same breath with which a League of Nations was called into 
being. 

This treatment of Germany could not lead to a pacification of the world. The 
disarmament and defenselessness of the vanquished which was considered 
necessary — an unheard of procedure in the history of the European nations — was 
even less suited to diminish the general dangers and conflicts; rather, it led to a 
state of affairs consisting of those perpetual threats, demands and sanctions which 
threaten to become, by virtue of the continual unrest and insecurity they cause, 
the death of the entire economy. If, in the lives of peoples, every consideration of 
the risks involved in certain actions is omitted, unreason will all too easily 
triumph over reason. At any rate, until now the League of Nations has 

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May 17, 1933 

been incapable of providing appreciable assistance to the weak and unarmed on 
such occasions. Treaties which are concluded for the pacification of the lives of 
peoples in relation to one another have any real meaning only when they are 
based upon a genuine and honest equality of rights for all. And this is the main 
reason for the turmoil which has dominated the world for years. 

Finding a reasonable and lasting solution to the problems existing today lies 
in the interests of all. No new European war would be capable of bringing about 
anything better in place of the unsatisfactory conditions of the present. 

On the contrary: the use of any type of violence in Europe could not serve 
to create a more favorable political and economic situation than exists today. 
Even if a fresh violent European solution were a decisive factor in solving the 
problems, the final result would be an increase in the disturbance to the balance 
of power in Europe, and therefore, one way or another, the seed of further 
conflicts and complications would be sown. 

New wars, new uncertainty, and a new economic crisis would be the 
consequences. The outbreak of such madness without end would, however, lead 
to the collapse of today's social and political order. A Europe sinking into 
Communist chaos would give rise to a crisis of unforeseeable proportions and 
unpredictable length. 

It is the earnest desire of the National Government of the German Reich to 
prevent such an unpeaceful development by means of its honest and active 
cooperation. 

This is also the real meaning behind the radical change which has taken 
place in Germany. The three factors which dominate our revolution do not 
contradict the interests of the rest of the world in any way. 

First: preventing the impending Communist subversion and constructing a 
Volksstaat uniting the various interests of the classes and ranks, and maintaining 
the concept of personal property as the foundation of our culture. Second: 
solving the most pressing social problems by leading the army of millions of our 
pitiful unemployed back to production. Third: restoring a stable and 
authoritarian leadership of the State, supported by the confidence and will of the 
nation which will finally again make of this great Volk a legitimate partner to 
the rest of the world. 

Speaking now, conscious of being a German National Socialist, I would like 
to proclaim on behalf of the National Government and the entire national 
uprising that, above all, we in this young Germany are filled with the deepest 
understanding of the same feelings and convictions and the justified demands of 
the other nations to live. The generation of this young Germany, which until 
now has come in its lifetime to know only the want, misery and distress of its 
own Volk, has suffered too dearly from this madness to be capable of 
contemplating subjecting others to more of the same. 

In that we are devoted to our own identity as a Volk in boundless love and 
faith, we also respect the national rights of other peoples on the basis of a 
common conviction and desire from the very bottom of our hearts to live with 
them in peace and friendship. 

Thus the concept of Germanization is alien to us. The mentality of the past 
century, on the basis of which it was believed possible to make Germans of 

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May 17, 1933 

Poles and Frenchmen, is foreign to us, just as we passionately reject any 
respective attempt in the opposite direction. We view the European nations as a 
given fact. The French, the Poles, etc. are our neighbors, and we know that no 
historically conceivable event can change this reality. 

It would have been fortunate for the world had these realities been given due 
consideration in respect to Germany in the Treaty of Versailles. For the object 
of a genuinely lasting treaty should not be to cut open fresh wounds or keep 
existing ones open, but rather to close and heal the wounds. A judicious 
handling of the problems could easily have arrived at a solution in the East 
which would have accommodated both the understandable claims of Poland as 
well as the natural rights of Germany. The Treaty of Versailles failed to provide 
this solution. In spite of this, no German Government will of its own accord 
violate an agreement which cannot be eliminated without being replaced by a 
better one. 

Yet this recognition of the legal character of such a treaty can be merely a 
general one. Not only the victor, but the vanquished as well has claim to the 
rights accorded it therein. But the right to demand a revision of the Treaty lies 
anchored in the Treaty itself. The German Government wishes to base the 
reasons for and the extent of its claims on nothing other than the present results 
of past experiences and the incontestable consequences of critical and logical 
reasoning. The experiences of the last fourteen years are both politically and 
economically unequivocal. 

The misery of the peoples was not alleviated; instead, it increased. The 
deepest root of this misery lies, however, in the division of the world into victor 
and vanquished as the intended permanent basis for all treaties and any future 
order. The worst effects of this order are expressed in the forced defenselessness 
of one nation in the face of an exaggerated armament on the part of the others. 
The reasons why Germany has been staunchly demanding universal 
disarmament for years are as follows: 

First of all, the demand for equality of rights expressed in actual facts is a 
demand of morality, right and reason; a demand which was acknowledged in the 
Treaty itself and the fulfillment of which was indissolubly tied to the demand 
for German disarmament as a starting point for world disarmament. 

Secondly, because conversely the degradation of a great Volk cannot be 
maintained in history forever but must of necessity one day come to an end. 
How long is it believed to be possible to impose such an injustice upon a great 
nation? What is the advantage of the moment worth in comparison to the 
ongoing developments of centuries? The German Volk will continue to exist, 
just as the French and, as we have learned from historical evolution, the Polish 
have done. What significance and what value can the successful short-term 
oppression of a people of 65 million have in comparison to the force of these 
incontrovertible facts? No State can have a greater understanding of the newly 
established young European national States than the Germany of the National 
Revolution which has arisen from the same will. It wants nothing for itself 
which it is not prepared to accord to others. 

When Germany today lodges the demand for genuine equality of rights in 
respect to the disarmament of the other nations, it has a moral right to do so 

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May 17, 1933 

given its own fulfillment of the treaties. For Germany did disarm, and Germany 
performed this disarmament under the strictest international control. Six 
million rifles and carbines were handed over or destroyed; the German Volk was 
forced to destroy or surrender 130,000 machine guns, huge amounts of machine 
gun barrels, 91,000 pieces of artillery, 38.75 million shells, and an enormous 
supply of other weapons and munitions. 

The Rhineland was demilitarized, the German fortresses were pulled down, 
our ships surrendered, the aircraft destroyed, our military system was 
abandoned, and thus the training of reserves prevented. Even the most needed 
weapons of defense were denied us. 

If, in the face of these indisputable facts, anyone should come forward today, 
citing truly pitiful excuses and pretexts and claiming that Germany did not 
comply with the Treaty and had even rearmed, I must reject this view at this 
time for being as untrue as it is unfair. 

It is equally incorrect to claim that Germany has not complied with the 
provisions of the Treaty in respect to personnel. The allegation that the SA and 
the SS of the National Socialist Party are connected in any way with the 
Reichswehr in the sense that they represent formations with military training or 
army reserves is untrue! 

A single example serves to illustrate the irresponsible thoughtlessness with 
which such allegations are made: last year in Briinn, members of the National 
Socialist Party in Czechoslovakia were put to trial. Sworn experts of the Czech 
Army claimed that the defendants maintained connections to the National 
Socialist Party in Germany, were dependent upon it and thus, as members of a 
popular sports club (Volkssportverein), were to be equated with members of the 
SA and SS in Germany which constituted a reserve army trained and organized 
by the Reichswehr. 

At the same time, however, the SA and SS — just as the National Socialist Party 
itself — not only had no connection with the Reichswehr whatsoever: on the 
contrary, they were regarded as organizations hostile to the State and persecuted, 
banned, and finally dissolved. And even beyond that: members of the National 
Socialist Party and those belonging to the SA and SS were not only excluded from 
all public offices — they were not even allowed to take on employment as simple 
workers in an army company. Nonetheless, the National Socialists in 
Czechoslovakia were given long prison sentences on the basis of this false view. In 
reality, the SA and the SS of the National Socialist Party have evolved totally 
without aid, totally without financial support from the State, the Reich, or even 
less the Reichswehr; without any sort of military training and without any sort of 
military equipment, out of pure party political needs and in accordance with party 
political considerations. Their purpose was and is exclusively confined to the 
elimination of the Communist threat, and their training, which bears no 
connection to the Army, was designed solely for the purposes of propaganda and 
enlightenment, mass psychological effect, and the crushing of Communist terror. 
They are institutions for instilling a true community spirit, overcoming former 
class differences, and alleviating economic want. 

The Stahlhelm came into being in memory of the great age of the common 
experiences at the front, to nurture established traditions, maintain comrade- 

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May 17, 1933 

ship, and finally also to protect the German Volk from the Communist 
revolution which has been threatening the Volk since November 1918, a threat 
which admittedly cannot be fathomed by countries who have never had millions 
of organized Communists as we have and have not suffered at the hands of 
terror as Germany has. For the real objective of these national organizations is 
best characterized by the type of struggle in which they are actually engaged, and 
the toll this has taken. As a consequence of Communist slayings and acts of 
terror in the space of only a few years, the SA and SS suffered over 350 dead and 
about 40,000 injured. If today the attempt is being made in Geneva to add these 
organizations which exclusively serve domestic purposes to the Armed Forces 
figure, then one might as well count the fire brigades, the gymnastics clubs, the 
security corps, the rowing clubs, and other sports organizations as members of 
the Armed Forces, too. 

However, when at the same time the trained annual contingents of the other 
armies of the world are not included, in contrast to these men totally lacking in 
military training; when one deliberately overlooks the armed reserves of the 
others while commencing to count the unarmed members of our political 
associations, we have before us a procedure against which I must lodge the 
sharpest protest! 

If the world wishes to destroy confidence in what is right and just, these are 
the best means of doing so. 

On behalf of the German Volk and the German Government, I must make 
the following clear: Germany has disarmed. It has fulfilled the obligations 
imposed upon it in the Peace Treaty to an extent far beyond the limits of what 
can be deemed fair or even reasonable. Its army consists of 100,000 men. The 
strength and character of its police is internationally regulated. 

The auxiliary police instituted in the days of the Revolution is exclusively 
political in character. In those critical days, it replaced the other part of the 
police which, at the time, the new regime suspected of being unstable. Now that 
the Revolution has been successfully carried through, this force is already being 
depleted and will be completely dissolved even before the year is over. Germany 
thus has a fully justified moral right to insist that the other powers also fulfill 
their obligations pursuant to the Treaty of Versailles. The equality of rights 
accorded to Germany in December has not yet become reality. Since France has 
repeatedly asserted that the safety of France must be given the same 
consideration as Germany's equality of rights, I would like to pose two 
questions in this regard: 

1. So far, Germany has accepted all of the obligations in respect to security 
arising from the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, the Kellogg Pact, the Treaties 
of Arbitration, the Pact of NonAggression, etc. What other concrete assurances 
are there which Germany could assume? 

2. On the other hand, what security does Germany have? According to the 
information of the League of Nations, France alone has 3,046 aircraft in service 
while Belgium has 350, Poland 700, and Czechoslovakia 670. In addition, there 
are innumerable quantities of reserve aircraft, thousands of armored vehicles, 
thousands of pieces of heavy artillery, and all of the technical means required to 
conduct warfare with chemical gases. Doesn't Germany have more reason, 

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May 17, 1933 

in view of its lack of defenses and weapons, to demand security than the armed 
states united by alliances? 

Germany is nonetheless prepared at any time to assume further obligations 
to ensure international security if all other nations are willing to do so as well 
and Germany also benefits from this step. Germany would also be more than 
willing to disband its entire military establishment and destroy those few 
weapons still remaining at its disposal, were the bordering nations to do the 
same without exception. However, if the other States are not willing to comply 
with the disarmament provisions imposed upon them by the Peace Treaty of 
Versailles, then Germany must, at the very least, insist upon its demand for 
equal treatment. The German Government sees in the British plan a possible 
basis for the answer to these questions. However, it must demand that it not be 
forced to destroy an existing military institution without being granted at least 
qualitatively equal rights. Germany must demand that any commutation of the 
military institution in Germany — an institution we do not want in Germany, 
but one which was forced upon us from abroad — is performed only to the extent 
of the actual disarmament performed concurrently by the other States. 

In this connection, Germany is essentially willing to agree to a transitional 
period of five years to bring about its national security in the expectation that, 
subsequent thereto, Germany will be accorded genuine equality with the other 
States. Germany is also perfectly prepared to completely abandon offensive 
weapons if, within a certain period, the armed nations destroy their own 
offensive weapons in turn and the use of such weapons is banned by 
international convention. It is Germany's sole desire to maintain its 
independence and be in a position to protect its borders. 

According to a statement made in February 1932 by the French Minister of 
War, a large portion of the colored French troops are available for immediate 
use on the French mainland. He therefore has explicitly included them in the 
home forces. 

Thus it is only fair to take the colored forces into account as an integral part 
of the French Army in the disarmament conference as well. Although one 
refuses to do this, one nevertheless proposes counting associations and 
organizations as part of the German Army which serve purely educational and 
sporting purposes and are given no military training whatsoever. In the other 
countries, there is no question of these types of associations being counted as 
part of military strength. This is obviously a completely impossible procedure. 
Germany would also be willing at any time, in the event that an objective 
international arms control board is created, to subject the associations in 
question to such control — given the same willingness on the part of the other 
States — in order to demonstrate to the whole world its wholly unmilitary 
character. Furthermore, the German Government will reject no ban on arms as 
being too drastic if it is likewise applied to the other States. 

These demands do not mean rearmament, but rather a desire for the 
disarmament of the other States. On behalf of the German Government, I may 
once again welcome the farsighted and just plan of the Italian Head of State to 
create, by means of a special pact, close relations of confidence and cooperation 
between the four major European powers, Great Britain, France, 

331 



May 17, 1933 

Italy, and Germany. Mussolini's view that this would serve as a bridge to 
facilitate an understanding is a view with which the German Government agrees 
out of its most deeply seated convictions. It desires to oblige to the fullest 
possible extent if the other nations as well are inclined to genuinely overcome 
any difficulties which may stand in the way. 

Thus the proposal made by the American President Roosevelt, of which I 
learned last night, deserves the warmest thanks of the German Government. 
The Government is prepared to consent to this method for solving the 
international crisis, for it is of the opinion that, if the question of disarmament 
is not solved, permanent economic reconstruction is inconceivable. It is willing 
to make a selfless contribution to this task of restoring the political and 
economic state of the world to order. It is also, as I have stressed in the 
beginning, of the conviction that there can only be one great task in our time: 
securing peace in the world. 

I feel obliged to state that the reason for today's armament in France or 
Poland can under no circumstances be the fear of these nations of a German 
invasion. For such a fear would only be justified by the existence of modern 
offensive weapons. But these modern offensive weapons are exactly the ones 
which Germany does not have: it has neither heavy artillery nor tanks nor 
bombers nor poisonous gases. 

The only nation which has reason to fear an invasion is the German nation, 
which is not only barred from having offensive weapons, but even restricted in 
its right to possess defensive weapons and prohibited from erecting fortifications 
on its borders. Germany is prepared to renounce offensive weapons at any time 
if the rest of the world does the same. Germany is willing to join any solemn 
pact of non-aggression, for Germany's concern is not offensive warfare, but its 
own security. 

Germany would welcome the opportunity suggested in President 
Roosevelt's proposal of incorporating the United States in European relations in 
the role of guarantor of peace. This proposal signifies a great consolation to all 
those who wish to seriously cooperate toward maintaining peace. Our one most 
fervent desire is to contribute toward permanently healing the wounds inflicted 
by the War and the Treaty of Versailles. And Germany will take no path other 
than that which is recognized by the treaties themselves as just. The German 
Goverment wishes to engage in peaceful discussions with the other nations on 
all difficult questions. It knows that, given any military action in Europe, even 
if it be completely successful, the losses thus incurred would bear no relation to 
the gains. 

Under no circumstances, however, will the German Government and the 
German Volk allow themselves to be coerced into signing anything which 
would constitute a perpetuation of Germany's degradation. Any attempt to 
influence the Government and the Volk with threats will be to no avail. It is 
conceivable that, contrary to everything which is right and moral, Germany 
could be raped; it is, however, inconceivable and out of the question that such 
an act could be accorded legitimacy by means of our own signature. 

The attempt has been made in newspaper articles and regrettable speeches to 
threaten Germany with sanctions, but a method as monstrous as this can only 

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May 17, 1933 

be the punishment for the fact that, by demanding disarmament, we are asking 
that the treaties be fulfilled. Such a measure could lead only to the ultimate 
moral and factual invalidation of the treaties themselves. But even in that case, 
Germany would never give up its peaceful demands. The political and economic 
consequences — the chaos which such an attempt would cause in Europe — would 
be the responsibility of those who resorted to such measures to fight a people 
which is doing no harm to the world. 

At this point Hitler revealed the ulterior purpose of his entire 
speech: laying the groundwork for Germany's withdrawal from the 
League of Nations and the Disarmament Conference. 

Any such attempt, any attempt at doing violence to Germany by means of 
forming a simple majority against the unequivocal spirit of the treaties could 
only be dictated by the intention of excluding us from the conferences. But 
today the German Volk possesses enough character to refrain, in such an event, 
from forcing its cooperation upon the other nations; it would rather, albeit with 
a heavy heart, draw the only possible conclusions. 

It would be difficult for us to remain a member of the League of Nations as 
a Volk subjected to constant degradation. The German Government and the 
German Volk are aware of the present crisis. For years, warnings have come 
from Germany to desist from the methods which have inevitably produced this 
political and economic state of affairs. If the present course is held and the 
present methods are continued, there can be no doubt as to the final result. 
Seeming political successes on the part of individual nations will be followed by 
all the more severe economic and hence political catastrophes affecting all. We 
regard it as our first and foremost task to prevent this. 

These words were motivated by Hitler's apprehension that the 
Western Powers might take military action against Germany should it 
withdraw from the League of Nations. Hence he judged it expedient to 
close his speech with a flourish of bathos, deploring the bitter hardships 
of the German people and citing the number of suicides committed since 
1919. 211 He continued: 

No effective action has been undertaken to date. The rest of the world tells 
us that one did, in fact, harbor a certain amount of sympathy for the former 
Germany; now at least we have become acquainted with the consequences and 
effects of this "sympathy" in Germany and for Germany! 

Millions of lives destroyed, entire trades ruined, and an enormous army of 
unemployed — an inconsolable wretchedness, the extent and depth of which I 
would like to convey to the rest of the world today in a single figure: 

Since the day when this Treaty was signed, which was, as a work of peace, 
to be the foundation for a new and better age for all peoples, there have been 
224,000 people in our German Volk who, moved almost exclusively by want 
and misery, have chosen to take their own lives — men and women, young and 
old alike! 

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May 17, 1933 

These incorruptible witnesses are an indictment against the spirit and 
fulfillment of a treaty, from the effects of which not only the rest of the world, 
but also millions of people in Germany once expected salvation and good 
fortune (Heil and Segen). May this also serve to make the other nations under- 
stand Germany's unshakable will and determination to finally put an end to a 
era of human aberration in order to find the way to an ultimate consensus of all 
on the basis of equal rights. 

After the speech, the Reichstag gave its unanimous approval to 
Hitler's statement of policy. Even the Social Democrats consented with 
one voice— then again, they had already stood behind Hitler's foreign 
policy as early as March 23. This vote of approval on May 17 was to be 
their last appearance before being swept off the political stage. 

To increase the impact of his "Peace Speech," Hitler attended a naval 
maneuver in Kiel on May 22. There he appealed to the onshore marine 
troops to "do everything in their power for the Vaterland" 212 and paid 
visits to the battleship Schleswig-Holstein and the cruiser Leipzig. 

On May 27, Hitler delivered a radio speech from Munich on the 
upcoming Volkstag elections in the Free State of Danzig which also 
dealt mainly with foreign policy. The address was designed to whet 
Poland's appetite to enter into an alliance with Germany. Hitler 
apparently felt no scruples about stating that he would "never attempt 
to subjugate foreign people." 

This was a prelude to his speech of September 26, 1938, in which he 
exclaimed: "We do not want any Czechs at all." 213 



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May 27, 1933 



On May 27, 1933, Hitler proclaimed: 214 

Just as we National Socialists strongly reject the notion of trying to make 
Germans of foreign peoples, we fanatically oppose the attempt to forcefully 
remove the German from his Volk. Just as we are moved by the realization that 
war brings suffering and misfortune upon people, our love for our homeland 
obliges us to stand up on their behalf. National Socialism does not advocate a 
policy of correcting borders at the expense of foreign peoples. We do not want 
a war for the sole purpose of perhaps bringing several million people to 
Germany who do not even want to and never can be Germans. We will never 
attempt to subjugate foreign peoples who harbor only hate for us at the price of 
sacrificing on the battlefield millions who are dear to us and whom we love. For 
this reason alone we are all the more devoted to what belongs to our Volk, is of 
our blood, and speaks our language. 

The Volkstag election in Danzig on May 28 resulted in an absolute 
majority for the NSDAP, enabling the National Socialists to form a 
government there with the Center on June 20. 215 The President of the 
Danzig Landbund, Dr. Hermann Rauschning, became President of the 
Danzig Senate (head of government). Rauschning had used his 
connections to make a not insubstantial contribution to the National 
Socialist cause in Danzig; moreover, Hitler harbored an enormous 
liking for him. 216 

Now a second German State had joined the Reich in becoming 
National Socialist and coming under Hitler's rule. In the Saar, the 
process of building a "German Front" under NSDAP leadership took 
somewhat longer. 217 In Austria, Chancellor Dollfuss attempted to set up 
an antiparliamentary dictatorship with fascist methods to prevent an 
Anschluss with Hitler's Reich. 

Meanwhile, the process of Gleichschaltung in Germany continued. On 
May 30, Hitler wrote a letter of gratitude to the Reich Commissar of 
Justice, State Minister Hans Frank, 218 thanking him for forming a united 

335 



May 30, 1933 

front in the German legal sector by bringing fourteen associations under 
the control of the League of Nationalist Socialist German Jurists. 

On June 4, Hindenburg and Hitler jointly issued an appeal for 
donations to the German Red Cross, the "Day of Sacrificial Thanks 
(Opferdank) to the German Red Cross 1933. 219 

On June 8, Hitler delivered an address at a reception held for British 
Royal Air Force Officers in Berlin, where he was quoted as having 
stated that "as a German soldier, he had had the opportunity during the 
war in Flanders to admire and respect the accomplishments of the 
English pilots." 220 

On June 14, Hitler spoke to National Socialist Reichsleiters and 
Gauleiters who were attending a Fiihrertagung in Berlin. 221 In this 
speech, Hitler dwelt mainly on the future relationship between the 
NSDAP and the State and was quoted as having said that 

[ — ] the National Socialist Movement, which had grown up fighting, was the 
best thing Germany had to show for itself. 

The law of the National Revolution had not yet lost effect. Its dynamics still 
dominated Germany's development today, and its inexorable course would lead 
to a completely new order of German life. 

He was of the firm conviction that this gigantic work of our Movement, 
propelled by tremendous idealism, would outlast centuries and nothing would 
ever be able to eliminate it. 

On June 16, after once more addressing the convention, Hitler took 
the floor at the inauguration of a new NSDAP Fuhrerschule (school of 
leaders) in Bernau. 222 Formerly, the institution had been run by the 
General Federation of German Unions (Allgemeiner Deutscher 
Gewerkschaftsbund, ADGB). 

On June 17, Hitler received Hungarian Minister-President Gombos 
at the Reich Chancellory in Berlin. 223 Gombos was the first Head of 
State to visit Hitler, setting off a continuous series of state visits from 
Hungary all the way up to 1945. 

On June 18, Hitler attended the Central German SA Roll Call in 
Erfurt, accompanied by Gombos. 224 

The assembly of approximately 70,000 members of the SA, SS and 
Hitler Youth took place in connection with new action against the 
Social Democrats on the one hand and the Stahlhelm on the other. At a 
reception in the Erfurt City Hall, Hitler stated: 

Just as we have taken possession of this city today, we have also overcome 
the Social Democratic movement as it manifested itself in Erfurt, 225 I am 
particularly pleased to accept the freedom of the city with very special thanks. 

336 



June 18, 1933 

The reception was followed by a parade of the brown columns 
across the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Platt lasting several hours. 

The same day, Hitler announced the nomination of Baldur von 
Schirach, the Reichsjugendfiihrer of the NSDAP, to the position of 
Youth Leader of the German Reich. 226 

By virtue of this appointment, Schirach became head of a public 
office which presided over all of the youth associations and similar 
organizations in the entire Reich. This facilitated the speedy 
establishment of the Hitler Youth as the one and only youth 
organization in Germany. 

The Wehrverbande were naturally to be subsumed under a single 
organization in like fashion. For this purpose the German Nationalist 
Scharnhorstbund and the Jungstahlhelm 227 were both integrated into the HJ 
and the SA. Hitler had succeeded in convincing their leaders, in particular 
Franz Seldte, of the national necessity of such a measure, and he rewarded 
this cooperation with the following proclamation of June 26: 228 

National Socialists! Men of the SA and SS! Men of the Jungstahlhelm! 

An aim which has been pursued steadily for fourteen years has now been 
accomplished. With the subordination of the Jungstahlhelm to my command as 
Supreme Commander of the SA and the integration of the Scharnhorstbund in 
the Hitler Youth, the unification of the political fighting movement of the 
German nation has been carried out and completed. 

The SA, the SS, the Stahlhelm and the HJ will now and for all time comprise 
the sole organizations which the National Socialist State recognizes as 
responsible for the political education of our youth and our men. 

It was understandable that, in the years following the Revolution, resistance 
against the November Traitors and their disastrous regime was attempted in the 
most diverse corners of our German Vaterland. 

Independently and without any knowledge of each other, the men rose up 
and organized parties and associations to fight the Marxist State. 

Doubtless they all wanted only the best. However, if Germany was to be 
saved, this could be done only by one single movement and not by thirty 
different ones. The future of our Volk does not depend upon how many 
associations stand up for this future but whether or not one is successful in 
subordinating the desires of many to a single will and thus effectively uniting 
them in one movement. Just as the German Reichswehr was once forced to 
eliminate the Freikorps, in spite of the many merits of individual units, in order 
to once again give the German Volk a single army, the National Socialist 
Movement was no less forced to eliminate the countless federations, 
organizations and associations, regardless of their merits or lack of merits, in 
order to finally construct for the German Volk a single uniform organization 
built upon its political will. 

A great number of the best of Germans failed to comprehend this task, and 
many others did not wish to understand it. 

337 



June 26, 1933 

Today the meaning and hence the necessity of this tremendous fight is clear 
to anyone who loves our Volk and believes in its future. 

Thus in past years, we have been forced to supress numerous associations 
purely out of these considerations Similarly, we will also prevent the emergence 
of any new association which would only serve to perpetuate the old 
fragmentation. The inalterability of this decision imposes upon us the obligation 
to be just. Therefore it is our desire as Germans and National Socialists to 
honestly acknowledge the difference which existed between the other 
associations and the Stahlhelm. We are willing to admit that the hundreds of 
thousands of German men who had served as soldiers at the front were drawn 
into this organization and thus withdrawn from the system. However, in the 
hour in which the fate of Germany turned, the foremost leader of this 
association (Bundesfiihrer) declared his support for the National Socialist 
Revolution. 

Now this man has drawn the final conclusions from the historical 
developments and decreed that, with the exception of the traditional association 
of the old front-line soldiers, the entire younger generation of the Stahlhelm is 
to be subordinated to the SA, and the Scharnhorstbund is to be integrated into 
the Hitler Youth and placed under my command. 

My SA leaders and SA comrades! This decision will one day be judged in 
German history to have been an extremely rare proof of a truly magnanimous, 
national outlook. What might otherwise have only been achieved after years of 
disagreements and drawn-out struggles — which in turn would have used up 
German power — has been resolved by the insightful deed of a man who has been 
sitting next to me in loyal solidarity in the cabinet since January 30. 

Our further order, that in future the remaining traditional association of the 
old front-line fighters would recognize no other party membership than that of 
the National Socialist Movement, finally provides me with the opportunity to 
lift the membership ban on our part. 

In view of this great development, I feel moved to first of all thank you, my 
old comrades in the Party, the SA and the SS, from a heart which is overflowing, 
for the boundless loyalty with which you have stood by me in good times and 
in bad through so many years. This is attributable primarily to your 
steadfastness. You were once fanatic fighters against the old system, and today 
you are the unshakable guards of the National Socialist Revolution. 

Second, I would also like to now thank those who voluntarily took what 
was certainly no easy decision to relinquish their proud independence for the 
sake of a greater community. 

And thus for the first time I may welcome the comrades of the 
Jungstahlhelm who are now marching in our ranks. 

From this day onwards, I order all leaders and SA and SS men to accept the 
men of the Stahlhelm who have entered our community as comrades and to 
include them in the eternal bond which binds us and which shall never be 
broken. No matter what memories the past holds, for you and me, nothing 
counts but the great future to which we have committed ourselves. 

If we have succeeded, in the course of many years, in converting millions of 
former Marxists, in leading them to us, in admitting them into our ranks, then 

338 



June 26, 1933 

certainly we must and will be able to take on national men who come out of 
another camp to enter into a bond of amity with us as friends and as comrades. 
I thus expect of every National Socialist that he recognize the magnitude of this 
historic development and contribute, by his own behavior, to bringing about 
the most profound fusion between ourselves and the newcomers as quickly as 
possible. 

Men of the SA, SS and Stahlhelm, to our wonderful National Socialist 
Movement and our German Volk: Sieg Heil! 

Munich, June 26, 1933 Adolf Hitler 

As Hitler indicated in this proclamation, he felt it was time to dissolve 
all of the parties — with the exception, of course, of his own. The KPD had 
virtually disappeared; its leadership was in concentration camps, along 
with numerous leading SPD members. The SPD's newspapers had been 
banned and all political activity on the part of the SPD prohibited. When 
the Social Democratic Party was finally banned as being treasonous and 
hostile to the State on June 22 by decree of the Reich Minister of the 
Interior, the act served only to confirm a fait accompli. 

Hitler chose a different procedure to rid the country of the 
bourgeois parties. In 1933, Germany found itself in a state of 
intoxication similar to that of 1914, when the exclamation made by 
William II — "I no longer recognize parties, I recognize only 
Germans!" 229 — was jubilantly received. At that time, this remark had had 
no further impact upon the existence of the parties as such. 

In June and July of 1933, however, Hitler was able to exert such 
influence on the chairmen and members of the bourgeois parties in 
numerous private meetings that they resolved the dissolution of their 
parties of their own accord for the sake of the nation. 

On June 27, the German National People's Party (Kampffront 
Schwarz-Weiss-Rot) resolved its own dissolution by a 56 to 4 vote of its 
leadership. On June 28, the German State Party (the former German 
Democratic Party) announced its dissolution; on July 2, the Christian 
Socialist People's Service disbanded, followed by the German People's 
Party and the Bavarian People's Party on July 4 and the Center on July 5. 

The fact that the Center and the Bavarian People's Party were 
moved to disband was doubtless the result of Hitler's concentrated 
powers of persuasion, particularly if one calls to mind the role which the 
Center had played in the German Empire and the Weimar Republic. 
Hitler had argued that, in view of the forthcoming concordat with the 
Vatican, the objectives of the Center had been accomplished and thus 
the party itself was superfluous. 230 

339 



June 26, 1933 

One of the few statesmen who appeared to be able to resist Hitler's 
rhetoric was Hugenberg. 

Whereas Hindenburg, Papen, Seldte, Blomberg, Neurath, and the 
other bourgeois cabinet members had learned, since January 30, to heed 
only Hitler, Hugenberg would not be made into a devoted National 
Socialist who upheld Hitler's every word. 

Although Hugenberg did not in fact openly oppose Hitler— he was 
too much of a patriot for this— he did feel it was appropriate to seize the 
opportunity afforded by a difference of opinion with Neurath during 
the World Economic Conference in London 231 to announce his 
resignation as Minister in June 1933. This, of course, ran completely 
contrary to Hitler's wishes, for he wanted to maintain the alliance of 
January 30 in his own way, i.e. all of the ministers who had been sworn 
in at that time were to remain in the cabinet for the time being. They 
would then be assigned National Socialist Secretaries of State; 
subsequently, they would also turn over their offices to proven National 
Socialists while remaining in the cabinet as purely token figures 
demonstrating national unity. 

In respect to Hugenberg, Hitler had envisioned that, for the time 
being, he was to turn over the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to 
Walter Darre and accept a National Socialist Secretary of State in the 
Ministry of Economics. 

In a lengthy conference on June 27, Hitler used every means at his 
disposal to move Hugenberg to reconsider. 232 He praised him, 
alternately pleading with him and appealing to Hugenberg's patriotic 
sense of duty; ultimately he threatened to throw thousands of German 
Nationalist adherents in jail — all in vain. Hugenberg remained steadfast. 
Following this discussion, the Privy Councillor was not sure whether he 
might indeed be arrested or secretly murdered, but Hitler did have a 
certain amount of restraint in such matters. 

He even respected those who were able to resist his powers of oral 
persuasion and uphold their own opinions, on the condition, however, 
that they did not join the opposition or conspire to overthrow him. In 
later years, Hitler even sent Hugenberg birthday telegrams. 233 

On June 29, Hitler had no choice but to betake himself to Neudeck 
to visit the Reich President and discuss the situation resulting from 
Hugenberg's unpleasant resignation. Already accustomed to taking 
Hitler's advice, Hindenburg accepted his proposals without objection. 
In any case, he himself had never been particularly partial to 
Hugenberg. 234 

340 



June 29, 1933 

The following communique was published on Hitler's meeting with 
Hindenburg: 235 

Berlin, June 29 
According to official reports from Neudeck, in response to the Reich 
Chancellor's proposal, Reich President von Hindenburg has granted Dr. 
Hugenberg, Reich Minister of Economy, Food and Agriculture, release from his 
offices per his request and appointed the Director General of the Allianz 
Insurance Company, Kurt Schmitt, as Reich Minister of Economics, and the 
Peasant Leader Darre as Reich Minister of Food and Agriculture. Reich 
President von Hindenburg also ordered the temporary retirement of the 
Secretary of State for the Reich Ministry of Economics, Paul Bang, and 
appointed Dipl. Eng. Gottfried Feder Secretary of State for the Reich Ministry 
of Economics. 

Reliable sources indicate that the Secretary of State for the Reich Ministries 
of Food and Agriculture von Rohr, will remain in office. 

The leaders of German industry took little note of Hugenberg's 
resignation and certainly had no objection to Schmitt's appointment. As 
noted above, Hitler had granted them substantial leeway and explicitly 
stated at a meeting of the Association of German Newspaper Publishers in 
Berlin on June 28 236 that it would run completely counter to Germany's 
economic tasks were only state-owned newspapers to be published. 

In respect to NSDAP members who tended to act on economic 
matters without authorization from above, Hitler took drastic 
measures, as illustrated in the following notice to the NSDAP's Reich 
Press Office issued June 29 : 237 

Berlin, June 29, 1933 
The Reich Press Office of the NSDAP hereby announces the following: 
former Party Comrades retired Captain Cordemann, retired Captain von 
Marwitz, retired Captain Wolf, and retired Captain Zucker, all of Berlin, have 
attempted by means of telegrams and telephone calls to Gauleiters, chambers of 
commerce, business enterprises, etc. to rob the Fiihrer of the freedom to make 
necessary decisions. By order of the Fiihrer, they were immediately dismissed 
from office and excluded from the Party. At the Chancellor's orders they were 
arrested and sent to a concentration camp. 

In this way Hitler could demonstrate to the German people that 
only those were put into concentration camps who had truly earned a 
sojourn at a corrective institution: either the evil Communists or those 
who had chosen to disregard the Fuhrer's wise commands — even if they 
were members of the Party. 

On July 2, Hitler delivered a speech at a Fiihrertagung of the SA, SS 
and Stahlhelm in Bad Reichenhall, in which he paid tribute to the 

341 



July 2, 1933 

generous attitude Seldte had demonstrated in linking his organization to 
the SA and SS. 238 Seldte himself took a vow of loyalty. After the 
convention had been closed, Hitler issued the following order on July 3: 239 

Under the leadership of the Chief of Staff of the SA, a convention of high- 
ranking SA and SS leaders took place in Bad Reichenhall from July 1 to July 3, 
to which the Bundesfiihrer, Seldte, and numerous high-ranking leaders of the 
Stahlhelm were invited. 

The convention, which was designed particularly to promote the mutual 
acquaintance of leaders fighting in a single front, was characterized by a spirit of 
sincerity and comradeship. 

The common goal and the personal solidarity of the newly created soldierly 
front hold the promise of a lasting fighting community. 

In agreement with Bundesfiihrer Seldte, I thus order as follows: 

The entire Stahlhelm will be placed under the command of the Supreme SA 
Command and reorganized according to its guidelines. 

At the orders of the Supreme SA Command, the Jungstahlhelm and the 
sports units will be restructured by the Stahlhelm offices in accordance with the 
units of the SA. 

This transformation must be concluded by the date still to be determined by 
the Supreme SA Command. 

The Bundesfiihrer shall issue the requisite commands in respect to the 
remaining sections of the Stahlhelm. 

As a demonstration of the solidarity of the Stahlhelm with the National 
Socialist Movement, these sections of the Stahlhelm shall wear a field-gray 
armband with a black swastika on a white background. 

I hereby bestow upon the Jungstahlhelm and the sports units which are part 
of my SA the armband of their organization and the national emblem to be 
worn on their caps between the cockades. 

The implementation provisions will be issued by the Chief of Staff. 

Adolf Hitler 

The fact that such "generous" orders on Hitler's part were nothing 
but transitional measures toward the complete elimination of the 
Stahlhelm was to become increasingly evident throughout the following 
two and a half years. 

After the Center Party had been dissolved on July 5, Hitler regarded 
the political struggle for power within Germany as settled for the time 
being. Although he had declared that the Revolution would not be 
ended until a new order had been established both within and without 
the entire German world, 240 with regard to the economy he felt it was 
expedient to temporarily shift his focus, as illustrated in an address to 
the Reichsstatthalters in Berlin on July 6: 241 

The political parties have now been eliminated in full. The achievement of 
external power must now be followed by internal education. Care must be 

342 



July 6, 1933 

taken to avoid making purely formal decisions in a rush and expecting this to 
bring a lasting solution. People are easily capable of bending an outer form into 
one bearing the stamp of their own ideas. 

A change, of course, can only be made when the persons required for such 
a change are present. More revolutions have succeeded in the initial onslaught 
than successful revolutions brought to a standstill. 

The revolution is not a permanent state of affairs, and it must not be allowed 
to develop into any such permanent state. The river of the revolution which has 
been released must be channelled into the safe bed of evolution. The most 
important thing in this connection is the education of the individual. Today's 
conditions must be improved and the people embodying them must be instilled 
with a National Socialist concept of the State. Thus a businessman may not be 
dismissed if he is a good businessman but not yet a National Socialist, 
particularly if the National Socialist appointed in his place does not understand 
anything about business. In business, ability alone must be the decisive factor. 

It is the task of National Socialism to ensure the development of our Volk. 
However, we should not be searching to see if there is anything left to 
revolutionize; rather, it is our task to secure position after position, to hold our 
positions and to make exemplary appointments to these positions in a gradual 
process. In doing so, we must focus our actions on the space of many years and 
think in terms of relatively long periods of time. Theoretical Gleichschaltung will 
not enable us to provide bread to workers. Moreover, history will not judge us 
according to whether we have dismissed and jailed the largest possible number 
of businessmen, but rather according to whether we have been able to provide 
work. 

Today we have the absolute power to enforce our will everywhere. But we 
must also be able to replace those who are dismissed with better people. 

In the long term, security in terms of power politics will be all the greater, 
the more we are able to underpin it economically. It is the task and the 
responsibility of the Reichsstatthalters to ensure that no arbitrary organizations 
or party offices claim for themselves governmental authority, dismiss 
individuals or make appointments to offices, for these are matters in which the 
Reich Government — and in respect to the economy, the Reich Minister of 
Economics — alone is competent. The Party has now become the State. All 
power lies in the authority of the Reich. It must not come to pass that the main 
emphasis in German life be transferred back to individual areas or, much less, 
individual organizations. Authority is no longer anchored in any partial area of 
the Reich, but in the concept of the German Volk itself! 

In no way did Hitler regard himself as a religious reformer, a fact he 
had clearly stated in Mein Kampf. His sole aim was earthly omnipotence. 
As long as the Christian churches in Germany relinquished all claim to 
power in a political and social sense and refrained from exerting any 
influence on schools and youth organizations, they were free to conduct 
as many religious ceremonies in their churches as they wished. He 
was even willing to grant them substantial funding, while hoping in 

343 



July 6, 1933 

exchange for active support in the national "expansion," i.e. future wars, 
in particular the crusade against the heathen Bolshevist Russia. 
Primarily, it appeared that the Protestant Church in Germany would be 
most willing to reach the internal consensus Hitler wanted. However, 
unexpected resistance soon arose which led to the establishment of a 
"Confessional Church" (in addition to the "Church of German 
Christians" which Hitler promoted). 

Ultimately, Hitler scored higher with the Catholic Church. With few 
exceptions, the German Catholic bishops and clergy had rejected Hitler 
from the very beginning. They were relatively immune to nationalistic 
slogans and justifiably concerned about the future of their youth groups 
and other organizations. Turning a deaf ear to Hitler's promises, they 
simply refused to partake of his seeming generosity. The Vatican followed 
a different policy, for it had gathered experience in dealing with a 
nationalistic dictatorship, and the Italian Church had not fared badly 
under Mussolini in spite of the loss of its youth organizations. 

Hitler's offer to conclude a Concordat thus fell on fertile ground in 
Rome; it was something which had come to pass neither in imperial 
Germany nor during the Weimar Republic. The Vatican felt it was 
wiser to secure the continued existence of the Catholic Church than to 
be forced to deal with open persecution and suppression. 

On July 8, the Concordat between the German Reich and the Holy 
See was signed. German clergy showed little enthusiasm upon hearing 
the news. Hitler, however, was all the more elated, particularly since the 
act was bound to make a positive impression on neighboring countries, 
above all Poland. He issued the following order on the same day: 242 

By virtue of the conclusion of the Concordat between the Holy See and the 
German Reich Government, there is, in my view, sufficient guarantee that from 
now on the members of the Roman Catholic confession in the Reich will place 
their services unreservedly at the disposal of the new National Socialist State. 
Thus I hereby decree: 

1. The dissolution of those Catholic organizations recognized in the present 
agreement whose dissolution was performed in the absence of an order of the 
Reich Government shall be repealed immediately. 

2. All sanctions imposed upon priests and other leaders of these Catholic 
organizations shall be discontinued. Any repetition of such sanctions in future 
is inadmissible and will be punished in accordance with the laws in force. 

I am happy in the conviction that an epoch has now come to an end in 
which, unfortunately all too often, religious and political interests became 
trapped in a seemingly irreconcilable polarity. 

The agreement concluded between the Reich and the Catholic Church will 
serve, in this sector as well, to bring about the peace required by all. 

344 



July 8, 1933 

It is my strong hope that the settlement of the questions which concern the 
Protestant confession will very soon comprise a happy close to this act of 
pacification. 

Adolf Hitler 

Hitler sent the following telegram to von Papen: 243 

Please accept my most sincere congratulations and gratitude, Herr 
Vizekanzler, on the successful conclusion of the new agreement between the 
German Reich and the Catholic Church. 

With kind regards, Adolf Hitler 

On July 9, Hitler addressed a meeting of the SA in Dortmund on the 
tasks of the future: 244 

Our foremost task consists of the following: we have power. No one can put 
up any resistance to us today. But now we must educate the German individual 
for this State. An enormous piece of work will begin for the coming decades of 
the German Volk. 

Our second task is: we see in Germany an enormous army of people who 
are without work and thus without a reliable source of daily bread. The past 
State ruined the entire economy in fifteen years. Seven million people lost their 
jobs. We have always declared that we are fighting not for some pale theories, 
but for the continued existence of our Volk. 

Now we must master one of the greatest tasks ever assigned to statesmen. 
We must eliminate unemployment. 

We are the largest organization which has ever existed in Germany, but not 
only that: today we are the only organization. The fact that we have eliminated 
everything else has burdened a tremendous responsibility upon us. We cannot 
load it on other people's shoulders. This great responsibility forces us to lead this 
Movement in such a way that we are able to hold our own before history at all 
times and later generations will look back on this time with pride. But this 
Movement is also the German Volk's only hope and its only faith in the future. 

Now that we have raised our flag throughout Germany as the flag of the 
State, we are obliged to ensure that nothing happens which might dishonor this 
flag. The flagbearer is responsible for the honor of the flag. I bid you gather 
together, my men of the SA and SS, and you of the Stahlhelm who have joined 
us, rally around this symbol of evolving life and of the resurrection of our Volk! 

We must be the ones to fulfill the great tasks, for there is no one besides us 
who could do it. Only despair would come after us. Millions of unemployed 
have confidence in us. They perceive in us the only ones who can save them 
from their need and misery. We will win the victory, for this victory is 
everything, it is Germany itself. 

As mentioned above, Hitler experienced some difficulties in 
attempting to steer the Protestant Church onto the course of the new 
national politics. On July 11, however, it appeared that the conflicts 

345 



July 11, 1933 

within the individual Protestant faiths had been settled by a new 
constitution. Hitler thus addressed the following congratulatory 
telegram to Ludwig Muller, military pastor and future Reich Bishop: 245 

Berlin, July 12 

I was happy to hear that the constitution has now been completed. May this 
serve to provide the foundation for the unity and freedom of the Protestant 
Church. 

Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler 

Hitler also made use of this occasion to send the following telegram 
to Hindenburg: 246 

Esteemed Herr Reichsprasident, 

After the Constitution of the German Protestant Church was completed 
yesterday, the negotiations to settle the conflict in the Prussian church were 
similarly brought to a close in a manner satisfactory to both the State and the 
Church. 

The internal freedom of the Church, which is one of my particular 
concerns, will be placed beyond doubt by removing the State's commissars and 
deputy commissars. The internal reconstruction of the Land Churches will be 
brought to a speedy close by free choice of the Protestant parishioners in 
accordance with Church law. I am happy, Your Excellency, to be able to report 
that it is now guaranteed that the wish which you, I and all those involved have 
cherished for the pacification of Protestant church life will be fulfilled within the 
very near future. 

In respectful devotion, Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler 

On July 12, Hitler delivered a speech to Gauleiters, the spokemen of 
the NSBO at the Land level, and the newly appointed Treuhander der 
Arbeit (trustees of labor). 247 Here he once again asked that restraint be 
exercised vis-r-vis the German businessmen. 

"We have conquered the land with fighting; now we must till it with peace." 
The political power had to be captured swiftly and in a single stroke, he said. In 
the economic sector, however, other laws of evolution were in force. Here one 
was forced to proceed step by step without radically smashing what existed and 
without endangering our own vital foundations. 

Now Hitler focused a part of his attention on foreign policy. The 
new President of the Danzig Senate, Hermann Rauschning, had been in 
Warsaw on July 3 and visited the Polish Minister-President for the first 
time. On July 13, Hitler received Alfred Wysocki, the Polish 
Ambassador to Berlin, to demonstrate yet again his good will. 248 

346 



July 16, 1933 

Prompted by the signing of a virtually ineffectual Four Power Pact 
in Rome to preserve peace (between Great Britain, France, Italy and 
Germany), Hitler sent a telegram to Mussolini on July 16, which was 
designed to flatter the Italian dictator: 249 

Berlin, July 16 
The signing of the Four Power Pact which has just taken place gives me a 
welcome opportunity, Your Excellency, to extend to you my warmest gratitude 
that this Pact, which owes its existence to the statesmanlike initiative of Your 
Excellency and which cements the amity between our two countries, has now 
been brought to a happy close after difficult negotiations. Particularly in view of 
today's world situation, this commitment of the four powers to mutual 
cooperation and understanding constitutes a ray of hope in the lives of the 
peoples of Europe. 

Hitler 

On July 16, Hitler delivered two speeches at what was known as the 
"Saxon Meeting," the Gau Party Congress in Leipzig. 250 
There he stated before 25,000 Amtswalters: 

The religions and the Churches will maintain their freedom. But we are in 
charge of politics. 

At the monument commemorating the Battle of the Nations of 
1813, Hitler announced to 140,000 men of the SA, SS and the Stahlhelm: 

Today we are not leading a mere thirteen or seventeen million, but the 
entire Volk, and hence the gigantic task accrues to us of training the millions of 
people who do not yet inwardly belong to us to become soldiers of this Third 
Reich, to become soldiers of our Weltanschauung. 

On July 16, Hitler instituted a general council of businessmen 
comprised, in addition to Robert Ley and other Party Unterfuhrers, of 
the businessmen who had long been attached to Hitler, 251 ranging from 
Fritz Thyssen to Baron von Schroder. 

On July 19, Hitler sent a letter to military pastor Miiller, prompted 
by the upcoming church elections. 252 He then spoke with the President 
of the Geneva Disarmament Conference, Henderson, at the Regina 
Hotel in Munich on July 20. 253 

On July 22, Hitler decided to deliver his own remarks on the 
Protestant elections which were to follow the next day. He spoke in a 
radio broadcast from Bayreuth, where he was attending the annual 
Festival. 254 

347 



July 22, 1933 

When I take a stand on the elections in the Protestant Church, I am doing 
so exclusively from the standpoint of a political leader, i.e. my concern lies not 
with questions of faith, dogma, or doctrine. Neither the Catholic nor the 
Protestant nor the Russian Orthodox Church has ever or will ever be able to 
halt the advance of Bolshevism. 

Hitler then proceeded to the subject of the Concordat with the 
Vatican: 

As a National Socialist, it is my most cherished desire to be able to reach an 
agreement with the Protestant Church which is no less equivocal. However, this 
presupposes that, if at all possible, a single Reich Church take the place of the 
multiple Protestant Churches. 

Although the church elections on July 23 did bring positive results 
for the German Christians, resistance against Nationalist Socialist 
church leadership remained strong in the Protestant Churches in the 
Lander, particularly in those under the Bishops Meiser (Bavaria), Wurm 
(Wurttemberg) and Marahrens (Hanover). 

Ultimately, Hitler gave up the fight and left them to their own ways, 
although he did have a number of Protestant pastors imprisoned or sent 
to concentration camps, among them Niemoller and Lilje, for having, in 
his view, put up too much resistance. 

Hitler stayed in Bayreuth until the end of July 1933, leaving the 
Festival only when his presence was urgently required elsewhere as, for 
instance, on July 26, when he delivered an address to 470 members of 
the Italian Fascist Youth Organization in Munich at 9:00 a.m. and then 
attended the funeral of Admiral von Schroeder (the "Lion of Flanders") 
at 2:00 p.m. 255 By 5:00 p.m. he was back in Bayreuth. On July 29, he 
attended a reception held by Frau Winifred Wagner, and on July 30, he 
visited the graves of Richard, Cosima and Siegfried Wagner. The 
following account of this visit was published: 256 

On Sunday morning [July 30], the Reich Chancellor and his staff visited the 
graves of Richard and Cosima Wagner in the park grounds of Haus Wahnfried 
and the grave of Siegfried Wagner in the municipal cemetery. Reich Chancellor 
Adolf Hitler laid impressive flower arrangements on the graves in memory of 
the master, his wife and his deceased son which were decorated with black- 
white-red silk ribbons with the name of the Reich Chancellor embroidered in 
gold lettering. 

On the afternoon of July 30, Hitler spoke at the 16th German 
Turnfest (Gymnastics Festival) in Stuttgart. 257 The tenor of his speech 
was: "The battle of life is not won by the weak, but by strong men!" 

348 



July 30, 1933 

It gave him the opportunity to once more rail against intellectuals: 

A Volk which is upright and healthy will also never succumb to the 
mistakes which a brain overtaxed by one-sided use so easily makes. Intelligent 
peoples without courage and strength have always been degraded to mere tutors 
to the healthier races. Their interesting styles of writing are a poor substitute for 
the lost right to live which nature has always perceived only as the power of 
standing up for one's own life. 

On August 6, Hitler delivered a three-hour address to Reichsleiters 
and Gauleiters at the Obersalzberg in which he touched upon every 
subject he held to be of current interest. 258 

This time Hitler introduced his party narrative with the remark that 
he was speaking at an "historic site," for it was here that he had 
conceived of his plans for the November 1923 uprising of the Party. In 
this speech and in many speeches to follow, Hitler attempted to portray 
the unsuccessful putsch as having been the right decision at the time. 
Since he had achieved power, he had convinced himself of his 
infallibility to such an extent that the failure of 1923 became a constant 
thorn in his flesh. Now he claimed that, had he not launched his attack 
at that time, "the others" would have launched their own, and this 
would have been tantamount to the end of the Reich. In the course of 
his speech, Hitler left no doubt that the Party was "determined to 
defend its power by every means." A Reichsparteitag (Reich Party 
Congress) would take place every two years, 259 and the Party would 
"erect the hierarchy of its leadership to a senate composed of the oldest, 
most reliable and most loyal party comrades." 260 

With regard to the unemployment problem, the Fiihrer stated that the 
purpose of the State was not to distribute pensions, but to provide work. When 
one reflected in which situation the nation might find itself were it to make 
practical use of the tremendous working potential which lay fallow (nine billion 
working hours annually) for our Volk, only then could one gauge how much 
blame accrued to those who governed before us. The NSDAP would, he said, 
take up and solve this decisive question, which constituted a moral obligation. 

The Fiihrer then went into detail in regard to the planned mammoth 
roadbuilding project which would bear witness, even after centuries, to the 
boldness and the accomplishments of the National Socialist Movement. He was 
convinced that posterity would one day refer to our time as an epoch of the 
most radical spiritual changes in the history of mankind. 

On August 12, Hitler took part in a Richard Wagner Celebration at 
Neuschwanstein, at which he was given the freedom of Hohen- 
schwangau. Expressing his gratitude in an address, 261 Hitler described 

349 



August 12, 1933 

himself, as he did in regard to all great Germans, as having consummated 
the plans of Ludwig II. He expressed his conviction 

that despite all criticism of these structures built by Ludwig II, the 
fertilization of the arts and the stimulation of tourism had nonetheless given rise 
to much good, which meant that the work of the King deserved recognition: "It 
was the protest of a genius against wretched parliamentarian mediocrity. Today 
we have translated this protest into action and finally eliminated this regime." 

On the following days, Hitler held various conferences on economic 
policy at the Obersalzberg: on August 15 he spoke with Reich Minister 
of Economics, Dr. Schmitt, the President of the Reichsbank, Dr. 
Schacht, State Secretary Dr. Lammers, and a number of other economic 
experts; on August 18 he met with Goring and State Minister Esser. This 
latter discussion dealt with questions of aviation and tourism. 262 The 
Obersalzberg was already becoming a branch office of the Reich 
Chancellory. 

On the afternoon of August 18, Hitler conducted a discussion on the 
forthcoming Reich Party Congress in the Hotel Deutscher Hof in 
Nuremberg. 263 

At a convention of SA and SS leaders at the Rheinhotel Dreesen in 
Bad Godesberg on August 19, Hitler delivered a two-and-a-half-hour 
address, commenting, among other things, on the relationship between 
the SA and the Reichswehr: 264 

All organizations were to clearly structure and differentiate their own 
functions, he stated. The relationship existing between the SA and the Army was 
the same as that of the political leadership to the Army. Neither was an end of 
itself; rather, both served only one end: that of preserving our Volk. 

Based upon this concept of Volkstum, he rejected the Germanization of 
other peoples and nations alien to our Volk, for this would never mean an 
invigoration or strengthening, but at most a weakening of the racial core of our 
own Volk. 

At this convention of SA leaders, Hitler — who had previously 
appeared bareheaded in uniform— donned a brown peaked cap, adorned 
only with the national eagle emblem and lacking the customary cockade. 265 

Hitler had scheduled a large rally at the Tannenberg Monument in 
East Prussia in memory of the battle which had taken place there in 1914. 
At this occasion he planned not only to commemorate the two battles of 
Tannenberg in 1410 and 1914, but also to pay a personal tribute of 
gratitude to Hindenburg. He directed Goring to give the Old Gentleman 
the gift of the Prussian Domain of Langenau and the Preussenwald forest 
and to install a tax-free manor, "Hindenburg-Neudeck." 

350 



August 27, 1933 

At this act of state on August 27, Hitler held the following speech 
after Goring had read the deed of gift: 266 

Herr Generalfeldmarschall! 

Nineteen years have passed since those tremendous days when the German 
Volk, for the first time in centuries, once again received tidings of the name of 
Tannenberg which is so brightly lit by the radiance of glory. An uncertain fate 
hung menacingly over the Volk and the Reich at that time. Through no fault of 
their own, our men were forced to protect Germany with their lives from the 
attacks of an overwhelmingly superior power. Exhibiting incomparable heroic 
courage, the armies attacked in the West and held their few divisions in the East. 
And nevertheless, the numerically superior forces of our Russian opponent 
forced their way deep into German territory, destroying everything in their 
path. Large areas of East Prussia fell prey to the destruction. The prayers of 
millions born of fears and troubles rose up to the Almighty. 

Salvation came with the name "Tannenberg," for not merely a battle was 
fought here; rather, the fate of Germany took a decisive turn, East Prussia was 
liberated and Germany was rescued. This day marked the beginning of that 
tremendous series of battles in the East which overwhelmed Russia as a warring 
nation, showered the German Armies with immortal glory, and obliged the 
German Nation to forever owe loyal gratitude, Herr Generalfeldmarschall, to 
your name. 

For regardless of how the heroic struggle for Germany was to end, the Great 
War bestowed upon our Volk for all time the proud feeling of once having made 
immortal sacrifices for the freedom and life of the Vaterland. In future, however, 
history will be unable to comprehend that a Volk, after having lost a war which 
it never wanted, was shamefully oppressed and humiliatingly mistreated only 
because it would not relinquish its freedom without a fight, but instead 
attempted, with unutterable suffering and sacrifices never to be equaled, to 
defend its right to live and the independence of its soil. 

At that time, Herr Generalfeldmarschall, fate allowed me, to my good 
fortune, to join and fight in the ranks of my brothers and comrades for the 
freedom of our Volk as a simple musketeer. Today, moved to the bottom of my 
heart, I feel it is a merciful gift of Providence that I may here, on the soil of the 
most glorious battlefield of the Great War, speak for the united German Nation 
and on its behalf express to you, Herr Generalfeldmarschall, in deepest 
reverence the gratitude of all. We are happy that we may celebrate this great day 
of the German Volk with him who once bestowed this day upon us. 

The German Reich Government is acting for the German Volk in 
expressing the fervent wish that your name, Herr Generalfeldmarschall, live on 
forever in our Volk not only by virtue of the deed, that not only the stones of 
this monument shall speak of you, but that along line of living witnesses closely 
tied to this home soil will also tell of their great ancestor. 

The German Reich Government, as representative of the national honor 
and in fulfillment of the debt of national gratitude, has resolved and made law 
that the plot of land in this province which is today connected with your name, 
Herr Generalfeldmarschall, shall remain free from the public duties of the Reich 

351 



August 27, 1933 

and the Lander as long as it remains bound to the name of Hindenburg by a male 
heir. 

Hindenburg showed his appreciation by appointing Goring General 
of the Infantry on August 30. To prevent the appointment from attracting 
too much attention and perhaps prompting opposition in the ranks of the 
Reichswehr, Blomberg was simultaneously appointed Colonel General. 
The following official notice was published on August 31: 

With effect as per yesterday's date, the Reich President has promoted the 
Reich Minister of Defense, Infantry General von Blomberg, to the rank of 
Colonel General. Within the framework of other promotions, he also conferred 
upon the Prussian Minister-President, former Captain Goring, Knight of the 
Pour le merite, the rank of General of the Infantry in recognition of his 
extraordinary merits both in war and peace, by virtue of which he is entitled to 
wear the uniform of the Reich Army. 

Goring's promotion from Captain to General of the Infantry — 
bypassing five military ranks— was in all probability a unique incident 
in the annals of German military history. 

With the exception of the later SS generals, Goring was the only 
Wehrmacht General who achieved his rank as a result of a revolutionary 
step. The astounding thing was that it was not Hitler, but the imperial 
Field Marshal von Hindenburg who made this highly unusual 
appointment. 

After the successful rally in Tannenberg, Hitler immediately headed 
west on August 27 and, after a flight of some hours, arrived at another 
national monument, the Niederwald Monument near Rudesheim, which 
had been erected in memory of the triumphant campaign of 1870/71. 
Several thousand Saarlanders had gathered for the occasion, and Hitler 
was in the right frame of mind to deliver a nationalistic speech. 267 

German Volksgenossen! My dear Saarlanders! 

I have come here first of all to bring you greetings from the province which 
has maintained unshakable loyalty to Germany in the distant East. A tragic and 
undeserved fate has struck our East Prussia. Separated from the homeland, two 
million Germans are loyally standing watch to hold, with their will and their 
basic convictions, the bridge which has been broken off geographically. Today, 
an uplifting ceremony took place at the Tannenberg Monument, not only in 
memory of the great past, but also bearing solemn witness to the fact that there 
exists a will to preserve what is ours, to preserve the sacred memories, but also 
to preserve the rights of the present. One of these rights of the present is the 
return of the Saar territory to the Reich! 

Of course — and you who are here, my friends, will perhaps know this best 
— Germany now is no longer the same as the Germany which evolved in a time 

352 



August 27, 1933 

when the Saar was temporarily taken from the Reich; rather, it is a Germany of 
honor, a Germany conscious of its national rights and obligations. 

When the Battle of Tannenberg was won, it was a symbol for the 
tremendous power of a unified nation. When the Saar was lost to the Reich, it 
was as a consequence of the loss of this inner unity. It is our unshakable will to 
restore this inner unity of the nation which we lost in the collapse of November 
1918. For fifteen years this goal has been all at once our wish, our prayer, and 
our idea, and today we can say that our prayer has been answered, our wish 
fulfilled. Our will has made reality of what had to come about in Germany in 
order to preserve our Volk from final ruin. Today those around us are talking 
about terror in Germany, about violence. That is neither terror nor violence, it 
is destiny. The whole of Germany is rising up! 

We have liberated Germany from the rape of those who did not want a 
strong Germany! We have liberated Germany from the rape and the terror of 
those who consciously rent it apart because they were able to control this Volk 
only by destroying its unity. What you witness now in Germany is one Volk 
and one Reich no longer experiencing party rule and party strife. 

It is not the German Volk which yearns for former conditions, but a 
handful of people who were living off the misfortune of the nation and the inner 
conflicts of the German Volk. 

If we have said it once, we have said it a hundred times: we want peace with 
the rest of the world. We ourselves have experienced the dreadfulness of war. 
None of us wants it. None of us wants foreign property. None of us wants to 
annex foreign people. But what God has given to the Volk belongs to the Volk. 
And if treaties are to be sacred, then not only for us, but also for our opponents. 
The treaties clearly provide that the Volk of the Saar is entitled to choose its own 
fate. 

I know that, when the hour comes, the voice of the nation will encompass 
every single individual, and he will go and cast his vote for the German 
Vaterland. 

We are gladly willing to discuss all economic matters with France. We are 
gladly willing to reach compromises with France. But there is one point upon 
which there can be no compromise: the Reich can neither abandon you, nor can 
you abandon Germany. 

On August 30, Hitler proceeded to Nuremberg to attend what 
was called the "Reichsparteitag des Sieges" (Reich Party Congress of 
Victory). 

In view of the triumphant mood of 1933, this demonstration on the 
part of the NSDAP was understandable — but Hitler intended to turn it 
into an annual affair. This congress and those following up until 1938 
were yet further occasions for him to experience the intoxication of his 
power over hundreds of thousands and even millions of people, and to 
indulge in his passion for speaking at mass rallies. The scale of the event 
grew from year to year; the parades became more and more tremen- 

353 



August 30, 1933 

dous; mammouth stone towers were built only to serve as huge flag- 
poles. An oversized convention hall was to eclipse all existing 
comparable structures throughout the world. It remained only a torso 
when the harsh realities of 1939 put an end to Hitler's rhetoric spectacles 
and shows of numbers. 

To the other participants, these rallies were significantly less pleasant 
than to Hitler. They housed in tents, stood for hours on end, and 
marched in endless processions. Although some of them might have 
regarded the rally as an experience, most of them were more interested in 
the circumstances surrounding the congress itself— the visit to a big city, 
the many attractions and amusements, the fireworks, etc. — than in its 
political contents. Well aware of this, Hitler demonstrated a generosity 
rivalled only by the Catholic Church on its illustrious pilgrimages. 

Hitler's speeches at these conventions were, however, usually 
among the weakest he delivered. The annual Party Congress was only 
accorded any real significance if it coincided with some other important 
occurrence, e.g. the Sudeten crisis of 1938. 268 In general, Hitler's 
outpourings at these annual gatherings were so mediocre that even his 
most fanatic followers submitted to them as to an ordeal, despite the 
abundance of "Heil!" cheers and applause. The fact was, these speeches 
were not motivated by any real events, and the never-ending sequence 
of retrospectives and forecasts were as tedious as the lectures on art and 
culture, subjects he presented much better on other occasions— and in 
Mein Kampf. It would certainly be accurate to state that Hitler's speeches 
at the Party Congresses did not, in contrast to his addresses on other 
occasions, convert any new followers to the National Socialist cause. 

The speeches and proclamations were delivered in a ritual form, to 
which the six Party Congresses from 1933 to 1938 adhered: 

— initial address at the reception in the Nuremberg City Hall 

— proclamation upon the opening of the Party Congress, read by 
the Munich Gauleiter Adolf Wagner 269 

— speech at the convention on culture; addresses to the individual 
formations (Political Leadership, NS Frauenschaft, Hitler 
Youth, SA, and SS, and later the Labor Service and the 
Wehrmacht) 

— speeches to the Diplomatic Corps and address at the final 
convention. 

This work cites the publication of Hitler's respective speeches at the 
Party Congresses but refrains from citing the contents unless they 
contain new views of any significance. 

354 



August 30, 1933 

On August 30, 1933, Nuremberg's Mayor Liebel handed over a print 
of Diirer's copper engraving, "Knight, Death and Devil," to Hitler at a 
reception in the City Hall. Hitler expressed his thanks and said: 

I have resolved to order that our Parteitage will take place in this city now 
and for all time. 270 

On September 1, Hitler's proclamation was read at the opening of 
the Party Congress. 271 It closed with an appeal to the love of truth, 
which Hitler upheld only as long as he and his rule fared well. Later, as 
times grew worse and worse, the practical application of this principle 
underwent a change. But in 1933, at this "Congress of Victory," he had 
no trouble stating: 

Power and the brutal use of force can accomplish much, but in the long run, 
no state of affairs is secure unless it appears logical in and of itself and 
intellectually irrefutable. And above all: the National Socialist Movement must 
profess its faith in the heroism which prefers any degree of opposition and 
hardship to even once denying the principles it has recognized as right. It may 
be filled only by a single fear, namely that one day a time might come when we 
are accused of insincerity or thoughtlessness. The heroic idea must, however, be 
constantly willing to renounce the approval of the present if sincerity and truth 
so require. 

Just as the hero has renounced his life to live on in the Pantheon of history, 
so must a truly great movement perceive in the rightness of its concept, in the 
sincerity of its actions the talisman which will safely lead it from a transient 
present to an immortal future. 

Here Hitler had vowed never to give up his preconceived views on 
foreign policy. And to the detriment of the German people, he 
remained true to this pledge. 

At the "Convention of Culture" on September 1, Hitler took the 
podium himself and held forth at length on the character and aims of art 
as he had done in Mein Kampf. This time he also voiced his own 
antipathy to modern art: 

The fact that something has never existed before is no proof for the quality 
of an accomplishment; it can just as easily be evidence for an inferiority which 
has never existed prior thereto. Thus if a so-called artist perceives his sole 
purpose in life as presenting the most confusing and incomprehensible 
portrayals of the accomplishments of the past or the present, the actual 
accomplishments of the past will nevertheless remain accomplishments, while 
the artistic stammerings of the painting, music, sculpture, and architecture 
produced by these types of charlatans will one day be nothing but proof of the 
magnitude of a nation's downfall. 

355 



September 2, 1933 

On September 2, Hitler stated to the foreign diplomats present 

that he would be happy if the gentlemen would leave Nuremberg with the 
impression that the National Socialist Rule in Germany was not a rule of force 
or, much less, tyranny, but that here the voice of the Volk truly found its 
innermost and deepest expression. 

On the same day, Hitler proclaimed to the assembled Hitler Youth: 

You, my boys, you are the living Germany of the future, not some empty 
idea, not some faint shadow, but the blood of our blood, the flesh of our flesh, 
the spirit of our spirit, you are the future of our Volk personified. 

Hitler flattered the political leaders at an Amtswalter roll call on 
September 2 when he said they were a hierarchy of leaders standing solid 
as a rock in the bustle of life, stating: 

It is your duty to ensure that every German, regardless of class and 
regardless of origins, be put through this weltanschaulich and political school 
which you represent. 

In reality, one could only graduate from this so-called 
weltanschaulich and political school if one was willing to take every 
word Hitler said at face value. 

On September 3, Hitler once again assumed the role of a padre in his 
address to the SA and SS. He spoke of the community of great faith 
which had assembled before him and once more granted absolution for 
the sins of the past. 

The Party Congress of our Movement has always been a great military 
parade of its men, its men who are determined and willing to not only uphold 
the discipline of the community of the Volk in a theoretical sense, but to put it 
into practice. A community with no respect to origin, class, profession, assets, 
or education. A community which has come together, united in a single great 
faith and in a single great will, united not only for one rank, not for parties, not 
for professions, and not for classes, but united for our Germany. 

Fourteen years of want, misery and humiliation lie behind us. In these 
fourteen years, however, a new, miraculous ideal has also asserted itself in our 
German Volk. We National Socialists have every right to say: when everyone 
became disloyal, we remained loyal and became truly loyal — an alliance of 
unswerving loyalty, unswerving comradeship, and if the Goddess of Fortune 
turned away from our Volk for fourteen years, we know it was because our 
Volk had itself to blame. But we also know that she will turn her gaze upon us 
once more when we have atoned for our guilt. May Heaven be our witness: the 
guilt of our Volk is extinguished, the crimes punished, the disgrace blotted out! 
The Men of November have been felled, and their tyranny is over. 

356 



September 3, 1933 

In order to lend this rally more mystical force, Hitler consecrated — 
as he would every year until 1938 — the new flags and standards of the SA 
and SS by touching them with the Blutfahne (Blood Flag) which had 
been carried at the march to the Feldherrnhalle in 1923 and allegedly 
been drenched in the blood of the martyrs to the cause. 272 

In his closing address to the Party Congress, Hitler waxed eloquent 
on the goals and objectives of the Movement, the failure of the 
bourgeoisie, racial selection, and the allegedly planned leadership 
hierarchy. At the same time he found it expedient to mention the future 
role he intended to play in foreign politics as the peoples' preserver from 
Bolshevism. Personally, Hitler saw no real danger from that corner, for 
he held Bolshevism to be extremely primitive and capable of being easily 
and quickly crushed with brutal force. Hence he stated on September 3: 

Communism is not a higher evolutionary stage, but the most primitive basic 
form of shaping peoples and nations. 

In his closing remarks, he once again returned to the idea of his 
"European mission" to protect the peoples from Bolshevism. 

In devoting ourselves in this way to caring for our own blood, a blood 
which Fate has entrusted to us, we are best helping to protect other peoples from 
diseases which spread from race to race and from Volk to Volk. If a single Volk 
were to fall prey to Bolshevism in Western or Central Europe, this poison 
would continue its corrosive work and devastate today's oldest and most 
beautiful cultural possession on earth. In taking this fight upon itself, Germany 
is but fulfilling, as so often in its history, a truly European mission. 

The Reichswehr was represented at this Party Congress in 1933 by 
only a handful of senior officers. At that time, a "Wehrmacht Day" did 
not yet exist. On September 5 and 6, Hitler thus visited the Fifth 
Division of the Reichswehr near Ulm, accompanied by the new 
Reichswehr general Goring. 273 

On September 13, the "Winter Relief (Winterhilfe) project against 
hunger and cold" was instituted by the Reich Ministry of Propaganda in 
Berlin. Hitler delivered the following address: 274 

Gentlemen! 

For many years we have fought at home against the idea of international 
Marxist solidarity. We perceived in this supposed international solidarity only 
the enemy of a truly national attitude, a phantom which drew men away from 
the only reasonable solidarity there can be: from the solidarity eternally rooted 
in the blood. 

357 



September 13, 1933 

But we have also always been conscious of the fact that one cannot eliminate 
this idea without having another take its place. Thus the motto governing this 
great act of assistance must be the phrase, "National Solidarity." 

We have smashed international Marxist solidarity within our Volk in order 
to give the millions of German workers another and better solidarity in 
exchange. It is the solidarity of our own Volk, the indivisible bond not only in 
good times, but also in bad; a bond not only with those who are blessed by good 
fortune, but also with those who are dogged by fate. 

If we correctly understand this idea of national solidarity, we must 
understand it as an idea of sacrifice, i.e. if someone says it is too much of a 
burden, that one is constantly required to give, then the only reply is: "But that 
happens to be the meaning of a true national solidarity." Taking cannot be the 
meaning of any true national solidarity. 

If one part of our Volk has come to suffer hardships due to circumstances 
for which all are responsible, and the other part, spared by fate, is willing of its 
own volition to take upon itself only a part of this hardship which has been 
forcefully imposed upon the other, all we can say is: a certain amount of 
hardship should be intentionally imposed upon a part of our Volk so that this 
part may aid in making the hardships of the other more bearable. The greater 
the willingness to make such sacrifices, all the more quickly will the hardships 
of the other side be able to be reduced. 

Every person must understand that giving only has any real value, in the 
sense of bringing about a true Volksgemeinschaft, when the act of giving 
involves a sacrifice on the part of the giver. This is ultimately the only way to 
build up the superior solidarity to which we must aspire if we want to overcome 
the other solidarity. 

When this Volk has correctly grasped the fact that these measures must 
mean sacrifice to everyone, then these measures will not only result in 
alleviating material want but will also produce something much more 
tremendous — the conviction that this community of the Volk is not merely an 
empty phrase, but something which is really alive. We need this community 
more than ever in the difficult struggle of the nation. Were Germany blessed by 
good fortune, it might be able to be accorded somewhat less significance. But 
when we are made to endure difficult times, we must be conscious of the fact 
that these can only be overcome if our Volk holds together like a single block 
of steel. 

We will only be able to achieve this if the masses of millions who are not 
blessed by good fortune are given the feeling that those who are more favored 
by fortune feel with them and are willing to voluntarily make a sacrifice in order 
to document to the entire world the indivisible solidarity of our Volk. 

Whatever the German Volk sacrifices today will — and everyone can be 
assured of this — be refunded to our Volk in kind, with interest and compound 
interest; for what are material sacrifices made voluntarily in contrast to the 
greatest gift, namely the gift of being a joint, unified Volk which feels that it 
belongs together, which is willing to set upon its earthly path of destiny as one 
and to fight a united struggle? The blessing which comes from this mutuality, 
from this national solidarity, is much greater and much more beneficial than the 

358 



September 20, 1933 

sacrifice which the individual person makes for its sake. This campaign against 
hunger and cold must stand under the motto: we have smashed the international 
solidarity of the proletariat, and in its place we shall build the living national 
solidarity of the German Volk. 

On September 20, Hitler spoke to the members of the newly 
established General Council of the German Economy (Generalrat der 
Deutschen Wirtschaft) in Berlin 275 and explained his economic policy, 
which greatly differed from Briining's system of educating the people to 
exercise modesty in their needs. 

The economy is now once again able to make long-range plans, because with 
this government there is no danger that it will be gone tomorrow or the day 
after. 

Two million people have been reintegrated in the production process. The 
Reich Government is convinced that this success can only be permanent if 
unemployment is combatted by a continuous series of vigorous offensives and 
fanatical persistence. If we succeed in halting the seasonal remigration of the 
masses of workers in fall and winter, a new general attack can be launched in 
spring with every hope of success. In order to achieve this, new and more 
extensive measures are required. It is the task not only of the Reich 
Government, but of the economy as well to accomplish the educational work 
which is of primary importance here. 

It is most necessary to combat the ideology of modesty of needs, the 
systematic reduction of demand, i.e. the cult of primitivism stemming from 
Communism. This Bolshevist ideal of the gradual regression of civilization's 
claims must inevitably result in the destruction of economy and of life as a 
whole. 

It is an ideology founded in a fear of one's neighbor, in a dread of somehow 
standing out, and is based upon a spiteful, envious cast of mind. This code of 
regression to the primitive state leads to cowardly, anxious acquiescence and 
thus presents a tremendous threat to mankind. 

The decisive thing is not that all limit themselves, but rather that all 
endeavor to make progress and improve their lot. The German economy can 
only exist given a definite rate of demand and a definite cultural requirement on 
the part of the German Volk. 

Here Hitler adapted his tone to suit the leaders of German industry; 
in a speech on September 23 before a gathering of German Autobahn 
workers near Frankfurt am Main, he made an effective presentation of 
his theory, which was doubtlessly correct at the time, of creating work 
and increasing consumption. 276 When the first sod was turned in 
preparation for the initial Autobahn connecting Frankfurt and 
Heidelberg, Hitler exclaimed: "Deutsche Arbeiter, ans Werk!" (German 
workers, to work!) The program he developed exhibited parallels to the 
embankment project in Goethe's Faust: 277 

359 



September 23, 1933 

Ministers, Presidents of the Reichsbahn and the Reichsbank! Statthalters, 

Gauleiters, Party Comrades, and German Workers! 

Today we stand at the threshold of a tremendous task. Its significance not 
only for German transportation, but in the broadest sense for the German 
economy, too, will come to be appreciated in full only in the course of future 
decades. We are now beginning to build a new artery for traffic! Aspects of 
modern traffic will be given deserved and necessary consideration in the 
development of the German motorway system. In future decades, transportation 
will be coupled with these great new roads which we now plan to build 
throughout Germany. The first step toward this goal is 6,400 kilometers long. 

I know that this gigantic project is only conceivable given the cooperation 
of many; that this project could never have evolved had the realization of its 
greatness and the will to turn it into reality not seized hold of so many, all the 
way from the Cabinet and the Reich Government, up to the German 
Reichsbank and the German Reichsbahn. 

At the same time we are fighting the most severe crisis and the worst 
misfortune which have descended upon Germany in the course of the past 
fifteen years. 

The curse of unemployment, which has condemned millions of people to a 
degrading and impossible way of life, must be eliminated! 

It is quite clear to us that the battle against unemployment cannot become 
a complete success overnight, but we are also aware of the fact that this battle 
must be waged under any circumstances. We are determined to take it up, for 
we have taken a vow to the nation to resolve this crisis. 

Back then we asked for four years, and we plan to turn these four years to 
the benefit and advantage of our German Volk and, above all, of the German 
worker. Workers, I myself was often attacked for my origins during the period 
of my struggle for power in Germany by those who pretended to represent the 
interests of the workers. At that time people were fond of saying: what does that 
ex-construction worker and painter want? I am happy and proud that Fate 
forced me to tread this path. In this way perhaps I have gained a greater 
understanding for the German worker, for his character, for his suffering, but 
also for that which makes up the vital necessities of his life. 

In beginning this project today, I am acting on these feelings, on these 
experiences from my own life; therefore I also know that what is beginning 
today with a celebration will mean toil and sweat for many hundreds of 
thousands. I know that this day of celebration will pass and that the time will 
come when rain, frost and snow will make the work trying and difficult for 
everyone. But it is necessary: this work must be done, and no one will help us if 
we do not help ourselves. 

In my view, the most productive way of leading the German Volk back into 
the process of work is to once again get German industry going by means of 
great and monumental projects. 

In taking on a difficult task today which you must continue in the hard times 
which fall, winter and spring will bring, you are ensuring that hundreds of 
thousands more will receive work in the factories and workshops by virtue of 
your increased buying power. It is our goal to slowly increase the buying power 

360 



September 23, 1933 

of the masses and thus to provide orders to the centers of production and get 
German industry off the ground again. 

Therefore I ask you to constantly bear in mind that today it is not at our 
discretion to choose the work to be done. I ask you to bear in mind that we are 
living in an age which perceives its very essence in work itself; that we wish to 
build up a State which values work for its own sake and holds the worker in 
high regard because he is fulfilling a duty to the nation; a State which aims, by 
means of its labor service, to educate everyone — even the tender sons of high- 
born parents — to hold work in high regard and to respect physical labor in the 
service of the Volksgemeinschaft. 

I know that this great process of inwardly welding our Volk together cannot 
be completed overnight. Even we are incapable of doing away with what has 
gradually disintegrated, become deformed and distorted in the course of thirty, 
forty, fifty or a hundred years within a few months. The biases have been too 
deeply implanted in the people to be forgotten overnight. But they will forget. 
It is our task to build this resolve on the concept of respecting work, no matter 
what it may be. Fate has not allowed us the freedom to pick and choose the type 
of work that fits our fancy. 

We want to educate the Volk so that it moves away from the insanity of 
class superiority, of arrogance of rank, and of the delusion that only mental 
work is of any value; we want the Volk to comprehend that every labor which 
is necessary ennobles its doer, and that there is only one disgrace, and that is to 
contribute nothing to the maintenance of our Volksgemeinschaft, to contribute 
nothing to the maintenance of the Volk itself. It is a necessary transposition 
which we will effect not with theories, not with declarations or with wishes and 
hopes, but which we will effect only by life itself, in that today we are setting 
millions of people to the task of restoring health to the German economy. 

In setting hundreds of thousands to work which is great, monumental, and 
of — I would like to say, eternal — value, we shall ensure that the product is no 
longer separated from those who have created it. In the future one should not 
only think of those who have planned or drafted it as engineers, but rather also 
of those who, by their industry, by their sweat, and by work which was just as 
hard, have translated the plans and the ideas into reality for the benefit of the 
entire Volk. Thus, in this hour I cannot hope for anything better than that it be 
not only the hour when the construction of this, the greatest road network in 
the world, was initiated, but that this hour also be, at the same time, a milestone 
for the construction of the German Volksgemeinschaft, a community which 
will bestow upon us as Volk and as State all that we may rightfully demand and 
expect from this world. 

And so I ask of you: go to work now! Construction must begin today! Let 
us commence the task! And before many years have passed, a gigantic work shall 
bear witness to our service, our industry, our capability, and our determination: 
Deutsche Arbeiter, ans Werk! 

On September 23, Hitler also delivered a speech at a Stahlhelm rally 
in the Hanover Municipal Hall. His remarks were totally along the lines 
of "we soldiers of the front." 278 

361 



September 23, 1933 

Each of us knows one thing: we have become what we are only because of 
what we went through out there. 

On September 28, Hitler spoke to Reichsstatthalters gathered in the 
Reich Chancellory, stating in no uncertain terms that they were to 
uphold the authority of the Reich and ensure the smooth functioning of 
the administration at all costs. 279 

In the meantime, Hitler was planning his foreign policy coup of 
withdrawing from the League of Nations. The League's regular session 
had opened on September 25. Hitler dispatched Neurath and Goebbels 
to Geneva in order to demonstrate how much effort he was allegedly 
expending toward solving the existing problems. More interesting, 
however, than Goebbels' statement to 200 foreign journalists there were 
the meetings which Neurath and Goebbels had with the English and 
Polish Foreign Ministers, Simon and Beck. On September 29, Hitler 
abruptly recalled his envoys and met with Neurath in Berlin for a 
conference on September 30. 280 

At home, Hitler bestowed yet another "national holiday" on the 
Germans: Erntedankfest (harvest festival), which was to be celebrated to 
pay homage to German peasantry at the start of October on the 
Btickeberg, a mountain near Hamelin. 281 

On the morning of October 1, Hitler received 100 peasant 
delegations from throughout the Reich and once more stressed the 
solidarity between the National Socialist Movement and the peasants in 
his speech: 282 

To us, the German peasant is not only a class, but a representative of 
German vitality and thus also of the German future. We perceive in the German 
peasant the source of national fertility, the foundation of our national life. 

In the afternoon, Hitler delivered a speech to the crowds of peasants 
gathered on the Btickeberg: 283 

German Volksgenossen! My German Peasants! 

A change of historic dimensions has taken place in Germany since the crops 
were harvested last year. A State of the parties has fallen; a State of the Volk has 
arisen. Perhaps only a future age will be able to fully appreciate the extent of the 
radical change which has taken place in these past eight months. We are all too 
bound by the spell of this age which is rushing forwards to be able to gauge its 
progress by drawing comparisons. 

What seemed impossible but a few years ago has now become possible. 
What millions held to be a lost cause has today become reality. 

That which attempted to defy this force has been overthrown. A revolution 
roared through the German countryside, smashing a system, stirring up our 

362 



October 1, 1933 

Volk to its innermost depths. It should surprise no one that the class most 
strongly seized by this powerful movement was the one which constitutes the 
supporting foundation of our Volk. 

The starting point for National Socialism's views, positions, and decisions 
lies neither in the individual nor in humanity. It consciously places the Volk at 
the center of its entire way of thinking. For it, this Volk is a phenomenon 
conditioned by blood in which it perceives the God-given building block of 
human society. 

The lone individual is short-lived; the Volk is lasting. While the liberal 
world outlook, by according the individual a god-like status, must of necessity 
lead to the destruction of the Volk, National Socialism wishes to preserve the 
Volk as such, if necessary at the expense of the individual. It requires a 
tremendous educational effort in order to make clear to the people what initially 
appears to be a difficult lesson in order that they may realize that in the 
discipline of the individual lies a blessing not only for the whole, but ultimately 
also for the individual himself. 

An undertone of concern was audible in this speech. Hitler feared 
severe complications and even military action as a result of his planned 
withdrawal from the League of Nations. Events proved his 
apprehension unfounded. Without explaining exactly which "difficult 
decisions" he had to make, he proclaimed: 

Fate has delivered us into a difficult age and thus also assigned us the holy 
task of making difficult decisions, if necessary. We know how great the misery 
is throughout the entire German Volk. We are determined to use every means 
which human intelligence can discover to fight it. 

Near the end of his address, Hitler worked himself up into a state of 
intoxication by dwelling on the colossal dimensions of his flock of 
peasants on the mount. He raved: 

Thus you, my peasants, have assembled at the largest rally of its kind which 
has probably ever taken place on earth. However, it should not only be a 
demonstration of your power, but also a visible display of the will of your 
leadership. By means of the celebration of labor and the celebration of the 
harvest, we wish to consciously document the spirit which dominates us and the 
path which we are determined to take. May the size of this demonstration instill 
in everyone a sense of mutual respect and the conviction that no class alone, but 
only all united, will be able to survive. 

May this feeling of solidarity between city and country, between peasants, 
manual laborers and mental workers continue to swell to become the proud 
consciousness of a tremendous unity. We are one Volk; we want to be one 
Reich. 

On October 2, Hitler flew to East Prussia, visited Graf von Dohna 
at his Finckenstein Castle and proceeded to Neudeck at 6:00 p.m. to 

363 



October 2, 1933 

congratulate the Reich President on his 86th birthday. He required 
Hindenburg's consent not only for his planned withdrawal from the 
League of Nations, but also for the dissolution of the Reichstag. 

Hitler had long been irked by the Reichstag elected on March 5, for it 
still contained deputies from the other right-wing parties and the Center 
sitting in for the NSDAP. What he needed was a "captive audience" in the 
truest sense of the word, a completely National Socialist Reichstag which 
was at his beck and call and would pass amendments to the Constitution 
which went beyond the scope of the Enabling Act and, moreover, also 
serve as a forum for his future outpourings on foreign policy. It seemed a 
convenient opportunity to submit the withdrawal from the League of 
Nations to a plebiscite and at the same time dissolve the Reichstag, 
although in fact this was purely a matter of domestic policy and had 
nothing whatsoever to do with the plebiscite. 

Hindenburg having consented to go along with his plans, Hitler 
could leave Neudeck well satisfied. 

On October 4, he spoke at the convention of German jurists in 
Leipzig and stated: 284 

The totalitarian State will not tolerate any difference between law and 
morality. Only within the framework of a Weltanschauung can and will a 
judiciary be independent. 

On Saturday, October 14, Hitler announced his decision to withdraw 
from the Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations. This 
action marked the beginning of his Saturday foreign policy coups. 285 
Hitler naively believed that Anglo-Saxon statesmen took their weekends 
so seriously as to be deaf to world affairs from Friday to Monday; hence 
the earliest time at which they could take any action against Hitler would 
be Monday morning — and by then it might well be too late for effective 
measures. The official announcement read as follows: 286 

Berlin, October 14 
In view of the unreasonable, humiliating and degrading demands of the 
other Powers in the Geneva Disarmament Conference, the Reich Government 
has today resolved to no longer participate in the Disarmament Conference 
negotiations. At the same time, the Reich Government hereby announces the 
withdrawal of the German Reich from the League of Nations. 

In order to give the German Volk an opportunity to take its own stand on 
questions involving the fate of the German nation, the German Reichstag is to 
be dissolved by decree of the Reich President of October 14 and new elections 
scheduled for November 12, 1933. Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler will speak on 
all German radio stations this evening. 

364 



October 14, 1933 

At a press conference, Goebbels also read Hitler's proclamation to 
the German Volk on October 14: 287 

Filled with the sincere desire to perform the task of the peaceful, domestic 
reconstruction of our Volk and its political and economic life, former German 
governments, confident of being granted their deserved equality of rights, 
declared their willingness to enter into the League of Nations and take part in 
the Disarmament Conference. Germany was bitterly disappointed. Despite our 
willingness to strictly carry out the disarmament, initially undertaken by us, to 
the very last consequence, if necessary, other governments could not make up 
their minds to uphold the promises which they had signed in the Peace Treaty. 
The fact that Germany was consciously denied any and all real moral and 
objective equality of rights was a constant humiliation to the German Volk and 
its government. The Reich Government having again declared its willingness, 
after German equality of rights had been granted on December 11, 1932, to once 
more take part in the negotiations of the Disarmament Conference, it was made 
clear in public speeches and statements delivered directly to the Reich Foreign 
Minister and our delegates by the official representatives of the other States that 
the Germany which exists today could no longer be granted this equality of 
rights. Due to the fact that the German Reich Government perceives in this 
action a both unjust and degrading discrimination of the German Volk, it does 
not, under these circumstances, feel itself able to participate any longer as a 
second-class nation without rights of its own in negotiations which can only 
result in further dictates. While once more professing its unshakable desire for 
peace, the German Reich Government must announce, in view of the 
unreasonable, humiliating and degrading demands, to its deepest regret that it is 
forced to leave the Disarmament Conference. Thus it will also announce its 
withdrawal from the League of Nations. It is submitting this decision it has 
made, together with a new declaration of its belief in a policy of a truly honest 
will for peace and a willingness to reach an understanding, to the German Volk 
for its opinion and is expecting from it a declaration of the same love and 
readiness for peace, but also the same concept of honor and the same 
determination. 

As Chancellor of the German Reich, I have thus proposed to the Reich 
President that, in order to visibly demonstrate the unanimous will of the 
Government and the Volk, this policy of the Reich Government be submitted 
to a national plebiscite and the German Reichstag be dissolved in order to 
provide to the German Volk the opportunity to elect those deputies best capable 
of giving the Volk the guarantee of a consistent representation of its interests as 
sworn representatives of this policy of peace and uprightness. 

As Chancellor of the German Volk and Fiihrer of the National Socialist 
Movement, I am convinced that the entire nation will come to stand united as 
one man behind a vow and a decision born equally of a love to our Volk and a 
regard for its honor as well as of the conviction that the final pacification of the 
world which all require can only be achieved when the concepts of victor and 
vanquished are replaced by the acceptable application of equal vital rights for all. 

Adolf Hitler 

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October 14, 1933 

A proclamation of the Reich Government to the German Volk was 
also published at the same time: 288 

The German Reich Government and the German Volk are united in the 
will to practice a policy of peace, responsibility and understanding as the 
foundation of all its decisions and its every action. 

The German Reich Government and the German Volk thus reject violence 
as being an inappropriate means to remedy existing differences of opinion 
within the existing community of States. 

The German Reich Government and the German Volk renew their vow to 
gladly consent to any real world disarmament and at the same time pledge their 
willingness to destroy every last German machine gun and dismiss every last 
man from the Army insofar as the other peoples decide to do the same. 

The German Reich Government and the German Volk are bound together 
in the sincere desire to soberly weigh all questions involved by way of 
negotiations and to attempt to solve them together with the other nations, 
including all our former opponents, for the purpose of overcoming the war 
psychosis and in order to finally restore sincerity to our relations with one 
another. 

The German Reich Government and the German Volk thus declare their 
willingness at all times to secure the peace of Europe by concluding long-term 
pacts of non-aggression with other continents, to contribute to Europe's 
economic welfare and to take part in the new general reconstruction of culture. 

The German Reich Government and the German Volk are filled by the 
same concept of honor, which requires that the granting of equality of rights to 
Germany constitutes the indispensable moral and objective precondition for any 
participation of our Volk and its Government in international institutions and 
treaties. 

The German Reich Government and the German Volk are hence of one 
mind in deciding to withdraw from the Disarmament Conference and the League 
of Nations for as long as this genuine equality of rights is denied our Volk. 

The German Reich Government and the German Volk are resolved to take 
upon themselves any crisis, any persecution, and any hardship rather than to 
sign treaties in the future which must be unacceptable for any man of honor and 
any honor-loving Volk, and the results of which would lead only to a 
perpetuation of the want and misery of the conditions under the Treaty of 
Versailles and thus to the collapse of the civilized community of the States. The 
German Reich Government and the German Volk do not intend to take part in 
any arms race put on by the other nations; they demand only that measure of 
security which guarantees for the nation the peace and liberty to perform its 
work peacefully. The German Reich Government and the German Volk are 
willing to secure these justified demands of the German nation by way of 
negotiations and treaties. The Reich Government addresses the following 
question to the German Volk: 

Does the German Volk approve of the policy of its Reich Government 
presented here, and is it willing to declare that this is the expression of its own 
view and its own will, and to bear solemn witness to it? 

366 



October 14, 1933 

As if these proclamations were not sufficient, on Saturday evening 
Hitler also delivered a long wireless address in which he repeated the 
reasons for his decisions. 

Once more he utilized the rhetorical stratagems which had met with 
such success in his speeches on domestic matters, believing that they 
would be equally effective in foreign policy. 

The "party narrative" was expanded to contain a sweeping account 
of the difficult path which Germany had taken since 1918. Hitler told 
how Germany, believing in Wilson's Fourteen Points, had fulfilled the 
Treaty of Versailles to the letter and disarmed, only to suffer one 
humiliating disappointment after another at the hands of the victorious 
powers. Germany did not want weapons; it wanted only equality of 
rights. 

Repeating his claim that he never wanted to win over an alien 
people, Hitler emphatically rejected the possibility of war. 

The fact that the German youth and the National Socialists were 
marching in columns of four was merely a preventive measure designed 
to protect the German Volk from Communism. 

The present Reich Government, so he insisted, was composed of 
men of honor, which made it all the more unbearable that Germany was 
being refused genuine equality of rights. 

Hitler stated that as early as in his "Peace Speech" in May, he had 
declared that under these circumstances Germany would no longer be in 
a position to maintain its membership in the League of Nations or take 
part in international conferences. To his chagrin, he was forced now to 
appeal to the German Volk to reaffirm its government's love of peace 
by a gigantic Friedens und Ehrkundgebung (rally for peace and honor). 
Hitler spoke on the radio verbatim as follows: 289 

In November 1918, when the German Volk lowered its arms in trusting 
faith in the assurances laid down in President Wilson's Fourteen Points, an ill- 
fated struggle came to a close for which individual statesmen, but certainly not 
the peoples of the world might be held responsible. The German Volk fought 
so valiantly only because it was of the sacred conviction that it had been unjustly 
attacked and was thus justly engaged in battle. The other nations had no 
conception of the magnitude of the sacrifices which the Volk — left almost 
entirely on its own — was forced to make. If in these months the world had 
stretched out its hand in fairness to its prostrate opponent, humanity would 
have been spared much suffering and countless disappointments. 

The German Volk experienced the deepest disappointment. Never before 
had a vanquished nation made such a sincere effort to help heal the wounds of 
its opponents as the German Volk had in the long years it fulfilled the dictates 

367 



October 14, 1933 

burdened upon it. And the fact that all of these sacrificies were unable to bring 
about a real pacification of the peoples was due only to the nature of a treaty 
which, by attempting to perpetuate the concepts of victor and vanquished, had 
to perpetuate hatred and enmity as well. 

The peoples had a right to expect that a lesson would be learned from this, 
the greatest war in world history, the lesson of how little — particularly for the 
European nations — the size of the sacrifices corresponded to the size of what 
could possibly be gained. Therefore, when the German Volk was required in 
this Treaty to destroy its arms in order to make general world disarmament 
possible, a great number believed that this was no more than a symbol for the 
spreading of a redeeming realization. 

The German Volk destroyed its weapons! Relying upon the contractual 
fidelity of its former enemies at war, it fulfilled the treaties with a truly fanatical 
loyalty. On water, on land, and in the air, immeasurable quantities of war 
materials were dismantled, destroyed or scrapped. At the request of the dictating 
powers, a small professional army with wholly inadequate military equipment 
took the place of what had once been an army of millions. However, at that time 
the political leadership of the nation was in the hands of men whose spiritual 
roots lay exclusively in the world of the victorious nations. 

The German Volk had a right to expect that, for this reason alone, the rest 
of the world would keep its promise just as the German Volk had worked, in 
the sweat of its labor, with thousandfold hardships and unspeakable privations, 
to fulfill its own contractual obligation. 

No war can become the permanent condition of mankind. No peace can be 
the perpetuation of war. At some point, victors and vanquished must find their 
way back to the community of mutual understanding and trust. For a decade 
and a half, the German Volk hoped and waited for the end of the War to also 
become at last the end of hatred and enmity. The purpose of the Peace Treaty 
of Versailles, however, did not appear to be that of granting mankind final peace, 
but rather to preserve in it undying hatred. 

The consequences were unavoidable. When justice ultimately gives way to 
violence, a permanent insecurity will disrupt and check the flow of all normal 
functions in the lives of peoples. When the Treaty was signed, it was completely 
forgotten that the reconstruction of the world cannot be guaranteed by the slave 
labor of a violated nation, but only by the trusting cooperation of all, and that 
the foremost prerequisite for this cooperation lies in overcoming the war 
psychosis; that furthermore the problematic question of the blame for the War 
cannot be cleared up historically if the victor has the vanquished sign a 
confession of guilt as a preface to a peace treaty; rather, that the contents of such 
a dictate most clearly prove who, in the end, are the guilty parties! 

The German Volk is deeply convinced that it is in no way to blame for the 
War. It may well be that the other parties involved in this tragic misfortune also 
harbor the same conviction. If so, it is all the more necessary to everywhere 
endeavor to ensure that this general conviction of guiltlessness is not allowed to 
become a permanent enmity for all time, and that the memories of this 
catastrophe of the peoples are not artificially conserved for this purpose; to 
endeavor that an unnatural perpetuation of the concepts of "victor" and 

368 



October 14, 1933 

"vanquished" does not result in eternally unequal rights which fill one side with 
understandable arrogance and the other, however, with bitter wrath. 

It is no coincidence that, following such a long period of artificially extended 
illness, humanity is certain to show certain effects. 

A shocking collapse of economic life was followed by a no less threatening 
collapse of politics in general. 

But what sense would the World War have had at all if its consequences are 
manifested solely in an endless series of economic catastrophes not only for the 
vanquished, but also for the victors? The welfare of the peoples has not 
improved, and their political image and their human satisfaction have certainly 
not become any more profound or deep! Armies of unemployed have 
developed into a new class in society. And just as the economic structure of the 
nations has been shaken, so, too, are their social structures gradually beginning 
to weaken. 

Germany suffered most from these effects of the Peace Treaty and the 
widespread insecurity it caused. The number of unemployed increased to a third 
of those normally engaged in the working life of the nation. That means, 
however, that in Germany, counting family members, approximately twenty 
million people of a total of sixty-five million were heading toward a hopeless 
future without any means of existence. It was only a matter of time until this 
army of the economically disinherited would of necessity have become an army 
of fanatics politically and socially alienated from the rest of the world. 

One of the oldest lands of culture in today's civilization stood, with over six 
million Communists, at the brink of disaster, and only a blase lack of 
comprehension would be capable of ignoring this fact. Had Red rebellion raced 
through Germany like a firebrand, the civilized countries in Western Europe 
may well have come to the realization that it is not immaterial whether the 
outposts of a spiritual, revolutionary, and expansionist Asian world empire 
stood watch at the Rhine or on the North Sea or whether peaceful German 
peasants and workers, in sincere solidarity with the other peoples of our 
European culture, wish to earn their bread by honest work. 

In snatching Germany from the brink of this catastrophe, the National 
Socialist Movement saved not only the German Volk but also made a historic 
contribution to the rest of Europe. 

And this National Socialist Revolution is pursuing only one aim: restoring 
order in our own Volk, providing work and bread for our starving masses, 
proclaiming the concepts of honor, loyalty and decency as elements of a moral 
code of ethics which can bring no harm upon other peoples, but rather is of 
benefit to all. Had the National Socialist Movement not been the representative 
of a body of ideal concepts, it would not have been able to save our Volk from 
the final catastrophe. It has remained true to this body of concepts not only 
throughout the period of its struggle for power, but also in the period it has been 
in power! We have attacked and combatted every type of depravity, infamy, 
deception, and corruption which has accumulated in our Volk since the ill-fated 
Treaty of Versailles. 

This Movement is committed to the task of restoring loyalty, faith and 
decency to their rightful position, without respect of person. For eight months 

369 



October 14, 1933 

we have been waging a heroic battle against the Communist threat to our Volk, 
the decomposition of our culture, the subversion of our art, and the poisoning 
of our public morality. We have put an end to denial of God and abuse of 
religion. We owe Providence humble gratitude for not allowing us to lose our 
battle against the misery of unemployment and for the salvation of the German 
peasant. In the course of a program, for the implementation of which we 
calculated four years, of a total of six million unemployed, more than two and 
a quarter million have once again been made part of the useful process of 
production within scarcely eight months. 

The best witness for this tremendous accomplishment is the German Volk 
itself. 

It will prove to the world how strongly it stands behind a regime which 
knows no aim other than, with acts of peaceful labor and civilized culture, to 
make a contribution toward rebuilding a world which today is spiritually 
unhappy. 

This world, however, which we are not harming and from which we desire 
only that it let us labor in peace, has been persecuting us for months with a flood 
of lies and slander. Although the Revolution which took place in Germany did 
not, unlike the French or Russian Revolutions, butcher hecatombs of humans 
and murder hostages, and did not, unlike the uprising of the Paris Commune or 
the Soviet Revolutions in Bavaria and Hungary, destroy cultural monuments 
and works of art — on the contrary, it did not smash a single storefront window, 
did not loot a single shop, and did not damage a single building — unscrupulous 
agitators are spreading a flood of tales of atrocity which can only be compared 
with the lies fabricated by these same elements at the beginning of the War! 

Tens of thousands of Americans, English, and French were in Germany 
during these months and were able to conclude from what they saw with their 
own eyes that there is no country in the world with more law and order than 
present-day Germany, that in no other country of the world can person and 
property be more highly respected than in Germany, but that, perhaps, too, in 
no other country of the world is there a fiercer battle being waged against those 
who, as criminal elements, believe they are at liberty to give free rein to their 
lowest instincts to the detriment of their fellow men. These parties and their 
Communist accomplices are the ones who are endeavoring today as emigrants 
to try to turn honest and decent peoples against one another. 

The German Volk has no reason to envy the rest of this world for this gain. 
We are convinced that a few years will suffice to make the honor-loving 
members of the other peoples thoroughly conscious of the inner value of these 
unworthy elements who, effectively hiding behind the flag of political refugees, 
fled the territories where each had practiced his own degree of economic 
unscrupulousless. 

But what would this world say about Germany if, for the benefit of a 
character who had attempted to set the British Parliament on fire, we had an 
investigative farce staged here, the sole purpose of which could only be to place 
British justice and its judges on a level lower than that of such a scoundrel? As a 
German and a National Socialist, I would have no interest in Germany in 
supporting the cause of a foreigner who attempts to undermine the State or its 

370 



October 14, 1933 

laws in England or even puts a torch to the architectural symbol of the English 
Constitution. And even if this character were — may God preserve us from the 
shame — a German, we would not cover him, but deeply regret that we had had 
to meet with such misfortune, and would harbor but one wish: that British 
justice would unmercifully deliver humanity from such a pest. 290 

However, we possess enough honor to be indignant over a spectacle 
which, initiated by obscure elements, is to serve the purpose of shaming and 
degrading the highest German court. And we are very saddened at the thought 
that these methods are used to stir up animosity and alienate peoples of whom 
we know that, inwardly, they tower above these elements. Peoples whom we 
should hold in high regard and with whom we would like to live in honest 
friendship. 

These corrupting and inferior characters have succeeded in bringing about a 
psychosis in the world, the inner pathological and hysterical duality of which 
can be demonstrated quite vividly. For these very elements which, on the one 
hand, complain of the 'oppression' and 'tyrannization' of the 'poor' German 
Volk by the National Socialist rulers, declare on the other with a brazen lack of 
concern that the protestations of love of peace in Germany are of no significance 
because they are uttered merely by a few National Socialist Ministers or the 
Reich Chancellor, while an uncontrolled war-fever is rampant among the Volk. 
That is the way they do things: the German Volk is presented to the world as 
either regrettably unhappy and oppressed or as brutal and aggressive, whatever 
the occasion requires. 

I perceive it as a sign of a nobler sense of justice that, in his most recent 
speech, the French Premier Daladier found words of conciliatory understanding 
for which countless millions of Germans are inwardly grateful to him. National 
Socialist Germany has no other wish but to steer the competition of the 
European peoples back to those areas in which they bestowed upon the entire 
human race in the most noble and mutual rivalry those tremendous assets of 
civilization, culture, and art which enrich and beautify the appearance of the 
world today. 

Similarly, we have been moved to hope by the promise that the French 
Government under its present head does not intend to offend or humiliate the 
German Volk. We are overcome by the mention of an all too sad truth, namely 
that both of these great peoples have so often in history sacrificed the blood of 
their best youths and men on the battlefield. I am speaking on behalf of the 
entire German Volk when I affirm that we are all filled by the honest desire to 
eradicate an enmity which means sacrifices that are in no proportion to any 
possible gains. 

The German Volk is convinced that its military honor has remained pure 
and unblemished in thousands of battles and skirmishes, just as we view the 
French soldier only as our old and yet glorious opponent. We and the entire 
German Volk would all be happy at the thought of sparing our children and our 
children's children what we had to witness and endure ourselves as honorable 
men in long and bitter years of pain and suffering. The history of the last 150 
years should, in the course of all its vicissitudes, have taught both peoples one 
thing: namely that essential changes are no longer possible, regardless of the 

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October 14, 1933 

blood sacrificed to bring them about. As a National Socialist, I, and with me, all 
my followers, refuse on the basis of our national principles to conquer the 
people of a foreign nation — who would not love us in any case — at the price of 
the blood and lives of those who are dear and precious to us. 

It would be a tremendous event for the entire human race were the two 
peoples willing to ban force from their common life once and for all. 

The German Volk is willing to do this. In that we openly lay claim to the 
rights accorded us by the treaties themselves, I also want to declare just as openly 
that, in Germany's view, there are no further territorial conflicts between the 
two countries. Once the Saar has returned to the Reich, only a lunatic could 
conceive of the possibility of a war between the two States, a war for which, seen 
from our perspective, there would no longer be any morally or reasonably 
justifiable grounds. For no one would have a right to expect that millions of 
young lives be destroyed for the sake of making a problematic correction— both 
in terms of extent and value — of the present borders! 

The French Premier asks why German youth are marching and falling into 
line; the answer is, not in order to demonstrate against France, but in order to 
show and document that very political formation of will which was necessary to 
overcome Communism and will be necessary to keep Communism at bay. In 
Germany there is only one bearer of arms, and that is the Army. And 
conversely, there is only one enemy for the National Socialist Organization, and 
that is Communism. 

The world will have to come to terms with the fact that, to protect itself 
from this threat, the German Volk chooses the forms for its internal 
organization which alone guarantee success. While the rest of the world 
entrenches itself in indestructible fortresses, puts together huge aircraft 
squadrons, constructs giant tanks, and molds enormous guns, it cannot talk 
about a threat because German National Socialists, totally unarmed, are 
parading in columns of four and by doing so are constituting an outward 
manifestation of the German Volksgemeinschaft and its effective protection! 

If the French Premier Daladier raises the further question of why Germany 
is demanding weapons which will be eliminated sooner or later in any case, he 
is in error. 

The German Volk and the German Government have not demanded any 
weapons at all; they have demanded equality of rights. 

If the world resolves that all weapons are to be destroyed down to the very 
last machine gun, then we are willing to join such a convention immediately. If 
the world resolves to destroy certain weapons, we are willing to renounce them 
from the very beginning. But if the world grants to every nation the right to 
possess certain weapons, then we are not willing to allow ourselves to be excluded 
on principle as an inferior nation. If we honorably uphold our respective 
conviction, we are more decent partners to the other nations than if we were 
willing, contrary to our conviction, to accept humiliating and degrading 
conditions. For we are pledging an entire Volk with our signature, while the 
dishonorable and characterless negotiator will be rejected by his own people.